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WARNING about reviews

Manitoba, Canada
Level Contributor
6,894 posts
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WARNING about reviews

Many of us use the reviews that people write in to TA to assist us in making our decisions on tours & accommodations. However, what used to be a wonderful idea to help travelers make decisions, has been made a mockery.

Unfortunately, there are a small minority of companies who are blatantly rigging the reviews they receive. It is obvious from the dozens of "one-hit wonders" (people who make only 1 review and never do another) who are leaving incredibly enthusiastic reviews for a certain company. They're totally unreliable. In fact, they're FAKE.

A couple of us have written TA about it, but TA apparently prefers to bury its head in the sand.

The warning? DON'T BELIEVE A REVIEW IF IT IS THE ONLY ONE THE PERSON HAS EVER MADE.

As a matter of fact, I'll go so far as to say that IN MY OPINION, any company that has to resort to a string of one-hit-wonders to promote it to top billing in its category MUST BE PRETTY AWFUL IF THEY CAN'T GET LEGITIMATE GOOD REVIEWS.

I am totally disgusted.

Chugiak, Alaska
Level Contributor
2,104 posts
12 reviews
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1. Re: WARNING about reviews

I agree with this except I've only posted two reviews, yet am not someone from the companies. If you want to know whether to trust a review, click on the person's user information and see how many posts they have on TA. If it's one or two, you probably don't want to trust them. If they've been around, you can check to see what kind of posts they've made, whether they are legitimate comments or reponses saying how awesome so-and-so company is in the threads. Definitely takes more time to research, but sadly, that's how it goes.

I also like reviews that mention things that aren't great, or explain that while their room was nice in such and such building, others weren't as nice. The middle of the road reviews are still handy to go to for real information.

Manitoba, Canada
Level Contributor
6,894 posts
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2. Re: WARNING about reviews

The one I'm looking at (no names, of course, TA would remove such a post) has 35 reviews in a category where most of his competitors have less than 10 reviews. EVERY SINGLE ONE is 5-stars. No complaints or criticisms about anything. That's impossible.

About half are 1-hit wonders, most of the rest have made only 1 or 2 other reviews.

The last 3 reviewers joined TA within the last few days just to enlighten us about how great their stay was. Oh, and all 3 of them just happen to live in Alaska too. My, my, coincidences sure add up, especially for a place that's been open just over ONE year. Top of its category--and that #1 rating on TA is the very first thing you read on their web page.

And let's not get started on their other business, which was also bumped to #1 in exactly the same way.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Level Contributor
38,930 posts
44 reviews
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3. Re: WARNING about reviews

Hi Maple! I do agree, though I would always hope that travelers use common sense when pouring over reviews. I like to look at someone's profile - to see if they have traveled much and what type of places they prefer . . . to see if we travel somewhat alike, etc., as well as how long they have been on TA and other things. I think people need to use good judgement and take all those factors into consideration when looking at reviews.

As well, I think TA needs to realize that when one place is getting a ton of reviews, they need to examine a bit closer and assist and possible elminate! :)

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
15,375 posts
28 reviews
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4. Re: WARNING about reviews

I totally agree with Manitoba and have in fact stated the same many times myself. She is talking about "one post wonders" being those who only have 1-2 posts and all are glowing reviews. Someone with even 5-10 posts has at least taken an effort.

TA has at least made it easier now by being able to see how many contributions a reviewer has. If that person has only 1-2 posts, I pretty much ignore the review and click "no" - that the review was not helpful.

Marlton, New Jersey
Level Contributor
2,074 posts
677 reviews
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5. Re: WARNING about reviews

Most people would not even think about looking to see how many posts a person has and just look at what was number one or number two attraction or hotel. I know I have booked things based on TA reviews. I never thought much about it until I saw Fti (I think it is John) explain about the one hit wonders and then it made more sense to me.

Michigan
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
3,071 posts
208 reviews
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6. Re: WARNING about reviews

I am another poster who has mentioned this problem on many occasions. Besides the fake reviewers with the glowing reviews, you also have the fake reviewers with the negative reviews. It appears that either the competing establishment up the street or a former disgruntled employee is doing their part to bad-mouth a business or establishment. As MM stated, what once was a great resource is no longer of much value.

I really became alerted to this problem this year as I was looking for lodgings in California. There is one lodging that has new ownership. Since the new owner took over, its TA rating has skyrocketed to #1. However, when you read the glowing reviews, they are almost all by one-poster wonders. Not one of these one-posters mentions the noise issues at this establishment. Those who have made multiple contributions on TA, point out the problems with thin walls. Overall they give the establishment a decent rating, but they give a balanced review.

I am just happy that now TA is posting the number of contributions the poster has made next to their TA name. I am at the point now that I only consider reviews written by those with at least 5 reviews. I then look at their history and see if I consider the report valid or not. It sure takes a lot of time to do this.

I have reported my findings and so far nothing has been done. I am 99.9% sure the establishment I found has many fake reviews. What a shame they have "earned" the number one rating for their town using such unethical practices.

So, like everything else, consider the TA reviews a product, and you must be a wise consumer!!

Warrenton, Virginia
Level Contributor
289 posts
13 reviews
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7. Re: WARNING about reviews

I agree with Coalminer... I made sure I looked at the type of traveler when I was considering a review and before I made reservations. Some seemed to expect five star accomodations and were, naturally, disappointed and left a poor review. Since for me, a hotel room is a place to lay my head between adventures, a whirlpool or room service isn't a big thing for me.

As long as it's clean and keeps the rain out, I'm good to go.

8. Re: WARNING about reviews

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Removed on: 01 May 2013, 04:26
Illinois
Level Contributor
176 posts
3 reviews
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9. Re: WARNING about reviews

There are fake reviews all over the TA forums. Try looking at the hotels under Ouray, Colorado. A local hotel (initials BCL) has 98 reviews, almost all of them fake.

A poster (user name begins with S) on the Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park forums has 13 posts with all of them promoting a particular condo development (initials BB) in Estes Park.

I know where I'm NOT staying!

Michigan
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
3,071 posts
208 reviews
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10. Re: WARNING about reviews

<<<<Now all this thread has done has made me super curious who is faking reviews!>>>>

It is really not hard to figure out. Just spend a little time reading them and observing the posters activity on TA. Before you know it, you will figure it out. Just too bad it takes us so long now to figure out whether a place is a decent find or not.