Ad watchdog to investigate TripAdvisor

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has confirmed it is investigating hotel review website TripAdvisor following a report that claims the site is failing to screen defamatory and unreliable reviews.

TripAdvisor: travel site to be investigated by ASA
TripAdvisor: travel site to be investigated by ASA, an online reputation management firm, has presented a report to the ASA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US. It claims there is a high level of defamatory comments hosted on the site.

It also claims TripAdvisor has "contravened its own guidelines" on screening every review before it is posted, and has ignored its own rules concerning "zero tolerance on fraudulent reviews".

The ASA confirmed it is formally investigating TripAdvisor's claims after receiving a complaint from KwikChex. said it has received more than 3,000 requests from across the globe from businesses and customers concerning review fraud, with 30% of complaints originating form the UK.

The online reputation firm is also challenging the claim that TripAdvisor's 50 million reviewers are from real travellers around the world. said it had highlighted examples of reviews that are "racist and bigoted and contain accounts of sexual attacks, offensive language, drug taking, prostitution and insults against named individuals".

Chris Emmins, co-founder of KwikChex, said: "Either their claims of efficient screening are false or they condone such behaviour on their site.

"TripAdvisor does not authenticate reviews as a matter of course, they do not even verify that the poster is a genuine customer of the business they are reviewing."

TripAdvisor issued a statement in response to the allegations, which said: "We believe the legitimacy of our reviews and opinions from real travellers is a key reason why we enjoy tremendous user loyalty and growth.

"Reviews are screened prior to posting and we have proprietary tools in place to help detect fraudulent reviews. We also periodically confirm the legitimacy of review authors."

In January this year, a row between TripAdvisor and 'Dragons' Den' panellist Duncan Bannatyne blew up following damning reviews of his hotel on the site.

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content


1 Why creative people have lost their way

What better way to kick off the inaugural issue of Campaign's monthly print offering than with another think piece on the current failings of our industry, written by an embittered, pretentious creative who misses "the way things used to be"...


1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).