Which?—the British consumer watchdog site that's similar to Consumer Reports in the U.S.—has warned travelers that TripAdvisor is still doing a bad job of keeping fake hotel reviews off its site, and that the fake reviews can push hotels way up the list.
Which? analyzed almost 250,000 reviews for ten popular tourist sites, focusing on the 'top ten' hotels in each, and found that nearly 15% had 'blatant hallmarks' of fake reviews.
Among those hallmarks are a high proportion of reviews from new accounts that never post again, although TripAdvisor says “It is far too simplistic to assume all first-time reviewers are suspicious. Every genuine reviewer in the world is at some point a first-time reviewer."
Which? gave TripAdvisor 15 specific cases, and says that TA admitted that 14 of the 15 had already been caught with fake positive reviews in the past year, and six had been penalized for it; two had even received a 'red badge." However, it was pointed out, there was no way for consumers to know that.
As a result of the complaints, the 'Best Hotel in Cairo' no longer is; the 'Best Hotel in Jordan lost 730 of its five-star ratings and others were adjusted. The Cairo hotel had 79% of its five-star reviews from first-and-only posters. In Las Vegas, two of the top 10 had nearly 50% of their reviews in that category.