Have you heard about The Shed At Dulwich? This fictitious restaurant became the number-one rated restaurant in London on TripAdvisor. Vice writer Oobah Butler registered with TripAdvisor and then published fake views consistently for several months to achieve top position. You can watch the video below and hear the full story.
Can We Trust Reviews and Influencers?
This left me wondering can we trust the credibility of reviews, particularly TripAdvisor reviews? Before booking any trip Mummy M and I always check the reviews on TripAdvisor, we have even recommended doing so here. We’re all aware that fake reviews exist on Instagram to Amazon. The rule of thumb is “if it sounds too good to be true – then it probably is”. Everyone doesn’t like everything so there should always be a percentage of negative reviews. In addition to this, consider the ratio of reviews. Somewhere may have 200 negative reviews out 5000 this is better than only 50 negative reviews out of 800.
It also brings in to question our new-age culture. Are we a nation of sheep? Unfortunately, I would say we are.
When it comes to influencers I would say seek out ones who are credible. They are many influencers that offer completely honest reviews without concerns of being removed from PR Lists and call out brands when they are being problematic. Also, if you consistently agree with a particular influencer it would suggest you have the same taste.
Death of Trip Advisor?
As for TripAdvisor, is this the end? I don’t think so. As mentioned above, with a real-life establishment that is open to guests there will be a range of reviewers with different tastes and preferences. This will give a better overall picture of the service on offer.
TripAdvisor has come under fire for deleting reviews expressing safety concerns. Guests have told stories of rape and assault which have been removed as they were not deemed “family-friendly”. I believe this is far more concerning than The Shed At Dulwich situation.
What do you guys think of the situation? Do you take reviews at face value? Let me know your thoughts.