Just before Christmas the Scottish Courts rejected an appeal by the owners of a Highland guest house who had unsuccessfully sued TripAdvisor over two negative reviews. We won't be commenting on the whys and wherefores of that judgement here, but we will be highlighting some aspects of the case that have wider implications for us all.
First let's look at two separate issues, the one with TripAdvisor and another with Google.
Here are the two reviews on TripAdvisor which the hoteliers claim are false or fictional...
|TripAdvisor should ask the reviewer for proof that they stayed - invoice or copy of credit card statement|
And here is another review on Google...
|This review (and the millions like it across Google attributed to 'A Google User') should be deleted, both for this reason and because it refers to the establishment under previous management|
Points we have for TripAdvisor and Google (given that neither company is short of the resources to employ extra staff)...
- Please become more responsive to businesses. At least listen (with an open mind) to issues they have with individual reviews. Be prepared to question the validity of reviews
- For TripAdvisor: Do something about making sure that reviewers are real people; we are all heartily sick of reading reviews by 'MickeyMouse123'
- For TripAdvisor and Google: Get rid of out-of-date reviews. If there has been a change of ownership then lose reviews written about the previous management. If the review is over two years old: archive it (and don't include it in whatever secret algorithm you use to calculate the business's ranking or score). A three-year-old review is of little use to a prospective customer
- For Google: recent reviews (which are attached to some form of Google account) have credibility, those written anonymously - 'a Google User' - under the old Google Places do not, delete them