Let me get a little bit off-topic today:
After my earlier experience with Tripadvisor not willing to delete a negative false review having been posted to my business (check my earlier post for this story), I meanwhile had plenty more very annoying experiences on top, making me highly doubt in ever using them again when traveling myself.
Though Tripadvisor had been very good in their early days now I wholeheartedly advise: Beware – or at least be extremely cautious!!
Real great reviews of my clients had been taken out without reason by tripadvisor but therefore more crappy things were posted to my business by people who never toured with me. Mostly I could manage myself to get rid of these things. But Tripadvisor even after telling never took action dealing with these issues. Zero!
Within the last few weeks I had several complaints now, sending them to Tripadvisor’s content integrity department. All were answered by a standard email (probably an automated reply). Not a single follow-up email by me ever got answered by anybody. This arrogant annoying behavior by Tripadvisor not only makes me really angry but even more it makes me highly doubt on the qualtiy of what you can read and see when trying to gather some information for your trip.
Tripadvisor always says “do not worry”, things will level out. But can they really?
An example: The latest issue was kind of a spam attack by somebody posting more than 30 images to my business. The guy I do not know, he did not book a tour with me and he not even posted a review. No matter with the images? Well, they are the first 30 images a traveler will see when evaluating my Venice photo tour. There are two major problems with this:
One issue is my reputation of what I make my clients shoot when teaching them photography during the Venice photo tour – which is kind of attacked with those images. But on this side I do not care anymore. Tripadvisor is way down the list where I get my clients from.
Much worse is the few occasions somebody finds me on tripadvisor and decides to book a tour, now expecting to shoot those kind of images. Well, I will not meet his expectations most probably. The result might be an unhappy client and even worse the client himself will not receive a service he intended to book.
For my business this is a minor issue – but for you as a traveler researching on tripadvisor it should be alarming.
Can I really expect to get what I see on tripadvisor?
Can I really trust any reviews anymore?
Most people say to be very careful when evaluating things on tripadvisor. I think it is even worse. You simply cannot trust tripadvisor anymore.
Tripadvisor does not care about fraud, they do not care about mistakes to be fixed, they do not care about anything for keeping their most valuable asset, your information stream, clean an honest.
Don’t get me wrong, there are really good guides and tours on tripadvisor which are highly recommended, especially here in Venice the first ones listed are really outstanding! But there are many good ones as well way down the list who might have got spammed or in some cases even attacked by their competitors while tripadvisor does not care about getting things right again for them.
Knowing about tripadvisor’s content integrity measures now I see how many reviews on their platform are fake, cheering ones as well as bad ones.
For the reader there is no way to figure out which to trust. That’s the reason why many excellent services don’t advertise on tripadvisor – and sticking to tripadvisor you will never find them.
Writing these lines does not make me happy since the initial idea of tripadvisor was really great. But as many businesses before, they struggled keeping quality high by compromising on their own database.
My conclusion: Take the time for an intense “old-school” web search on your next destination. Trust yourself more than fake reviews and do not go with tripadvisor beyond getting a rough idea which kind of activities might be interesting.
Though knowing also some excellent guides and tours still to stick to tripadvisor for me it turned into a no-go as information base.
Edit: Finally after a long fight the images have disappeared again.