“Organized Boosting” or “Optimization” fraud occurs when businesses pay others to post fake reviews.
TripAdvisorSuccess.com is an example of an organization offering these services. There’s evidence that the company is paid by clients to write fake reviews in an attempt to “boost” a property’s performance on the site. Also, TripAdvisorSuccess did not deliver the reviews it promised to some clients and when they tried to cancel their payments, it threatened to post fake negative reviews on their properties. At this time, TripAdvisor has identified properties using TripAdvisorSuccess and penalized them. TripAdvisor is also considering various actions against TripAdvisorSuccess.com itself. TripAdvisor encourages businesses to avoid engaging with firms like this one.
TripAdvisor has a zero-tolerance fraud policy. Here are four tactics we use to stamp out Organized Boosting companies like TripAdvisorSuccess and others who commit fraud:
1. Analyze Incoming Reviews: TripAdvisor employs a large, international team dedicated to preventing fraud. Fraud detection systems, including sophisticated filtering and behavior modeling tools, help the team identify widespread attempts to manipulate the system. All reviews are analyzed and suspicious patterns that emerge are flagged for additional investigation.
2. Listen to the Community: Our business partners and travelers are a key resource when it comes to stamping out fraud. Most community members are honest and simply want to help each other. When something doesn’t seem right, report it and the fraud team will investigate.
Business partners can report problems with reviews via the Management Center, under the “Manage your reviews” menu. Click the link under “Dispute a review” and then select “Report organized boosting” as the issue on the form. Travelers can report suspicious reviews with the “Report problem with review” link on each review on the property page.
3. Identify Unscrupulous Businesses: The TripAdvisor fraud investigation team regularly sets up dummy optimization firms and accounts on known optimization-hiring sites where users are paid to write reviews. Their goal is to identify and penalize property owners who try to purchase these fraudulent services.
4. Take Action: When a business engages in fraudulent activity, TripAdvisor evaluates a variety of penalties, including removing the fraudulent reviews, dropping the offending business from the popularity index and adding a notification to the business’ profile (see right). TripAdvisor may also pursue legal action.
We’re working alongside members of our community to eliminate fraud. To learn more about TripAdvisor’s fraud policies, visit: www.tripadvisor.com/help and search “What is considered fraud?”
TripAdvisor business partners can report Organized Boosting with
this form in the Management Center