Man Jailed For Posting Fake TripAdvisor Reviews

Adjust Comment Print

A criminal court in the southern city of Lecce has sentenced a person found guilty of writing fake reviews on TripAdvisor to a nine-month jail term.

TripAdvisor says it first heard of PromoSalento in 2015 when several Italian businesses forwarded emails from the company offering to boost their profile online.

An online fraudster who sold fake TripAdvisor reviews to hospitality businesses has been jailed after a "landmark ruling".

The US company revealed it had helped the prosecution by sharing evidence from its own investigations and providing support from its Italian legal counsel.

More news: Hurricane Florence lashes Carolinas in United States , causing floods

TripAdvisor, which was a civil claimant in the case, hailed the decision as "a landmark ruling for the internet".

"This is the first time we have seen the laws being enforced to the point of securing a criminal conviction".

He added: "Since 2015, we've put a stop to the activity of more than 60 different paid review companies worldwide".

The global travel community is a vital partner in the fight against paid review fraud and evidence shared by business owners approached by paid review companies is particularly valuable. The shift in consumer behaviour has resulted in advice from organisations such as the World Committee on Tourism Ethics, which published guidelines on the responsible use and misuse of ratings and review on digital platforms past year.

More news: Hurricane Florence: Latest NOAA Updates from NHC (Sept. 13)

Tripadvisor now have more than 661 million reviews on their website, and face constant pressure from consumer groups, including the Italian Competition Authority, to prevent and remove fake reviews.

'The recommendations were developed in collaboration with TripAdvisor, Minube and Yelp and we know that industry collaboration has an important role to play in tackling review fraud. More should be done to make organisations that pay for fraudulent reviews accountable under the law.

The website also conducted its own investigation after they were notified of the fake reviews.

"We believe those who do not play by the rules should be penalised and we have strong penalties in place for businesses that try to manipulate our system", Tripadvisor wrote in a statement on the website.

More news: Guardiola: Sterling knows what Man City think of him

A spokesman for Birmingham Best Inn told Daily Mirror Online at the time: "Many of the pictures are rather old photos, dated from more than a year ago, and don't necessarily hold up to the fact of how those rooms are like at this moment, as they were taken from rooms which have been fixed/remade quite recently".