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Italian Competition Authority fines TripAdvisor €500,000

The London Telegraph reported that the Italian Competition Authority fined travel website TripAdvisor€500,000 for publishing misleading information in its reviews. TripAdvisor, said it disagreed with the antitrust decision and would appeal it.


Back In 2012,  the Advertising Standards Authority in  the UK told Tripadvisor “not to claim or imply that all the reviews that appeared on the UK website were from real travellers, or were honest, real or trusted." After that TripAdvisor scrapped its "reviews you can trust" slogan and stopped claiming that reviews were from "real"travelers


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I know TripAdvisor has had some problems with a minority of people posting false reviews so I can kind of understand in 2012 the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK telling TripAdvisor not claim the reviews were from real travelers or use the word trusted describing reviews.


As far as the Italian Competition Authority goes, below is their Press Release when the investigation started in May. It seems like it would be very difficult for TripAdvisor to prevent  fake reviews , so I'm not exactly sure how the Italian Competition Authority wants Trip Advisor to prevent false reviews better than they do now.







The Competition Authority has decided to initiate proceedings for unfair trade practises against Tripadvisor to cheque whether the company adopts appropriate measures to prevent and limit the risk of publication of false reviews, both in terms of information and relatively to registration procedures. The decision was taken in view of the numerous reports received by consumers, owners of tourist facilities (hotels, restaurants and other venues) and of the Unione Nazionale Consumatori (National Consumers Union)."

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I am a free speech advocate, and don't like this ruling.  Free speech can be abused and, yes, there will be people who lie to hurt someone.  But that won't be avoided by being 100% sure people have used a service.  For example, if I want to hurt my competitor's restaurant, I'll go in, buy a drink, then go home and trash them on Tripadvisor.  Similarly, guide book authors can be "bought off".  Honest opinions are very important from experienced travelers and the more sources we have, the better off we are.


I find the information on Tripadvisor helpful (not perfect) and contribute my own.  I usually look for reviews from experienced travelers, not those from people who have just posted one or two reviews (and who are suspect to me because of this).

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

I don't like the ruling either. Travelers by in large do a great job with their reviews and that's why TripAdvisor is so successful. I think it is harder for people to post fake reviews on  because they require a stay before a review,  but it's still possible


As long as Tripadvisor is not claiming all  their reviews are from real travelers  or all  are honest or trusted  I think the blame should go to the few that are conning the system.


If you want a thing done, ask a busy man.

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