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Introducing Andrew Marane, Director of Content Integrity

We are pleased to welcome Andrew Marane, Director of Content Integrity, to TripAdvisor! Andrew was appointed to his role in February and has a wealth of experience in fraud analysis. Content integrity is a top priority and we are always adding new expertise to our team to maintain our extremely high standards. We asked Andrew a few questions about his experience, new role and what he enjoys the most about his job.

1. Can you give us a brief overview of what you were doing before TripAdvisor?
I started my career in the U.S. Navy serving for five years before moving into law enforcement where I spent 15 years, the latter of my time focused on organized fraud investigations. After leaving law enforcement, I entered the commercial sector first focusing on fraud analysis and organized fraud investigations within the insurance industry and later managing fraud and analytic programs within the eCommerce and financial markets.

2. How did you become interested in this work?
My first exposure to threat analysis came in the military, but it wasn’t until the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta that I started working extensively with visual and data analysis for organized fraud and crime. My greatest exposure to using analytics came from organized insurance fraud cases, which involve extremely complicated schemes. To understand and solve those, you need to marry technology with investigation skills. Later, I applied that same experience to detect fraud in large volume online transactions, and to identify emerging trends and patterns. There is nothing more exciting then figuring out how to detect fraud proactively in different types of commerce.

3. Are there any specific skills or lessons that you have learned through the years that will be beneficial to TripAdvisor?
You always have to stay one step ahead of those who try to fraud the system. People who try to affect the quality on TripAdvisor never stop thinking of new ways to improve their attempts, so we should continue to improve, also. Our bar is already set high, but constantly evaluating tools, policies and resources enables us to level the playing field against those who try to impact the TripAdvisor community.

4. What is the most rewarding part of this type of job?
By far the most rewarding is working with a team that is enthusiastic about investigations. Developing new tools and methods to improve our detection abilities is fantastic, but they will only be as good as the team using them. Fortunately, we have a fantastic and skilled team within TripAdvisor.

5. Are there any interesting cases you have worked on in the past that you can share?
Every case has been interesting. The greatest thing about being a part of fraud investigations is that no two are the same. The most memorable cases involve innocent people. In one case an organized fraud group from the Caribbean were convincing elderly people to wire money to them. It wasn’t the biggest case I ever worked on, but returning the money to those victims was especially rewarding.

6. Can you give a brief overview of your role at TripAdvisor?
My role is to work with the team that’s in place to protect the integrity of reviews. That covers a great deal of ground for sure, but TripAdvisor has many ways to accomplish this: through our tools, which examine reviews for potential violations, to our investigation group who is constantly examining content to ensure we are meeting this expectation, and to our TripAdvisor community, who alerts us to any suspicious content. My role is to make sure we are staying at the top of our game so that users and owners of our site can have continued faith that we are presenting what we have for years: real reviews by real people about real experiences.

7. What do you see as the biggest challenges in your new role?
In addition to making something that works well work even better, a big challenge will be figuring out how we maintain our standards to deal with the ever-increasing amount of content that TripAdvisor receives everyday, and to make sure we are doing so as efficiently as possible. That is a challenge, but having more and more travelers submitting more and more content to TripAdvisor is not a bad problem to have.

8. Do you as a consumer use review sites?
One of the main reasons I was so excited about coming to work for TripAdvisor was because I have been a fan for the past eight years. I can say that from a user perspective I may not always agree with the reviews but I know that I can trust TripAdvisor to give me a great insight into the hotels I am considering. By seeing a mix of opinions, I knew I was getting a complete understanding and could make my own determination how to weigh that information.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. We wish you all the best, you have a tough job ahead.

    One thing we have noticed in Buenos Aires and we think it’s interesting is how the hotels get more fake reviews on the low season, usually from April until August.

    Looking forward to reading more about advances on this matter!

    April 4, 2012
  2. I am delighted to learn about TripAdvisor’s methods of authentification. It helps me dispell those who claim that it can be manipulated – Thanks Hugh from the Caledonian Bed & Breakfast Broken Hill NSW Aust.

    April 4, 2012
  3. I hope he can help clean up the fraudulent reviews that we at BarefootPanama have received. The 200 caricature reply is obviously not enough, the PROOF we can provide that those tours/people did not exist was not enough, asking the reviewers to show proof and getting no reply wasn’t any help. If Andrew Marane, Director of Content Integrity does help, that would be great!

    April 5, 2012
  4. Best of luck Andrew! As an owner of a tourist business, and as a loyal user of TA for our family’s travel plans, I appreciate your efforts to keep thigs above boards!

    April 16, 2012

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