7 years ago

Kwikchex wants freedom of speech but not deceit through TripAdvisor reviews

The company behind a legal threat to TripAdvisor over alleged defamatory reviews on the site says it has a “Pandora’s Box” of a potential case on its hands.

tripadvisor action2

UK-based Kwikchex, which unveiled plans for a possible class action against the user review giant in September 2010, has been quiet of late, prompting to some to wonder if the threat had faded away after the resulting publicity and question marks over whether the case would even get aired in the US.

But CEO Chris Emmins, who has masterminded the action, says the issue is at delicate point and still evolving, despite assurances in the campaign’s initial phase that TripAdvisor would be contacted about the supposedly defamatory reviews.

For its part, TripAdvisor says this week that it has still not had any contact at all from Kwikchex.

Emmins says the “scale, the severity and the consequences of the current situation concerning anonymous and unverified feedback comments are so great that we know we have to consider broader actions”.

The Kwikchex boss describes how the saga has developed in recent weeks:

  • Individual cases are being evaluated to create primary list – ones which include the most serious allegations of criminality by property owners or negligence of standards. Such businesses must be willing to give evidence in court if necessary, Emmins says.
  • A second set of cases has been assembled where there is allegedly “reasonable evidence” of criminal deception on the part of the author of the comment. This includes posting fake reviews (positive or negative).

Emmins says, however, the scale of comments that fall outside of those two areas but “unquestionably violate” guidelines of user review sites.

“In many cases the statements being made about the standards applied and the effectiveness of filters, screening etc. are quite simply a fallacy and are, we feel knowingly false and misleading.”

Kwikchex says it is intending to highlight such cases to a “far greater degree” that it previously considered.

It is also restricting its original terms by allowing non-Kwikchex members to participate in any such legal process.

Emmins says:

“Our members, of course will always take priority and will exclusively have the resources to confirm, build, promote and protect their reputation. We are addressing the exact methodology of how we open it up to all – but it will certainly include advice and a check that will enable people to understand the laws, ethics and principles involved.”

As an aside, an interesting point to note in the latest exchange with Emmins is the use of word TripAdvisor – in fact, it doesn’t appear at all in the correspondence.

But, ironically, in a month dominated by the outpouring of information from the Wikileaks organisation, Emmins stresses:

“What we are talking about is protecting freedom of speech, but not allowing the enabling of freedom of deceit on the scale that is currently taking place.”

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Royston Campbell

    Please do us all a favour and defeat Kwickchex in court Trip Advisor. I will go into my dealings with Kwickchex in another designated thread.

  2. traveladvisercozumel

    I recently posted on Tripadvisor on the name of justice. A gang of people that live in Cozumel island were insulting and harassing a business owner also at Cozumel.


    You can not harm other business to favorite your own business or your friends. This should be a fair and honest game protected by Tripadvisor.

    I still do not understand why Tripadvisor is not a safe place.

    What an example Tripadvisor is also giving to the world by publishing their community guidelines but not following them properly.

    “TripAdvisor claims that they are not responsible for user generated content – but claims ownership of all posts.”

    Yes they are not responsible for user generated content, but they are responsible for the way they are using their own guidelines to assure safe community interaction.

    I have posted 2 messages at Tripadvisor forum stating a Harassment environment. Both messages were banned. However, there are still messages with Impersonation of other members, harassment and personal attack. What else does Tripadvisor moderators need?

    I wrote them a complaint yesterday; I will keep you updated with their answer. However i do not believe they will do anything but protect the bad guys.

    • traveladvisercozumel

      TripAdvisor has finally removed the whole thread! Hope they will also take measures against bad guys.

  3. Atlantic Birches Inn

    As a lodging business owner all it takes is one bad review on tripadvisor and it never goes away. Your only option is write a relpy addressing the guests review. Tripadvisor should be a little more flexable as to removing reviews. Bad Reviews can be published by competitors or guests threating a business for not refunding on early departures or booking deposits canceled within the cancellation period. Tripadvisor needs to change thier policy, maybe to have a business be able to remove or challege two reviews a year for removal. This would help the bussiness’s that have mostly positive reviews while not doing much for the business that has all negative reviews

  4. Sue Heilbronner

    Methinks this headline (and the email lead about the review row heating up) may have been a bit overwritten. Don’t see any news here. Story seems to be about the possible plaintiff essentially quieting down and doing absolutely nothing of substance (e.g., filing suit) in the time b/t Sept and now. I’m not going to take a position on merits here, but I wonder if a story that should have been headlined “little of anything going on at the moment” was really worth posting particularly with such editorial fanfare.

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May


      hey, thanks for commenting…

      We took a decision a few months ago to keep tabs on this story, not least because after the initial launch of the potential action every other media outlet ignored it, but because it is interesting on many levels.

      I have contacted Kwikchex every few weeks for an update, this is a standard follow-up in journalism, and on a story which has interesting implications as it develops, each nuance is generally reported.

      The new elements of today’s piece:

      * Widening the scope so that non-Kwikchex members can be included in the practice.

      * Including fake reviews (positive or negative) in the action.

      Maybe these new elements should’ve been highlighted better, admittedly.

  5. Robert

    If the reviewer has nothing to lose the validity of the [one off] review will always be in question.


  6. Expedia believes TripAdvisor, media could be a $1 billion business | Tnooz

    […] for those critics, including UK-based Kwikchex, which may be clamoring for TripAdvisor to rein in its hotel review system, the Expedia presentation indirectly spells out why such a scenario is not in its […]

  7. Tweets that mention Kwikchex wants freedom of speech but not deceit through TripAdvisor reviews | Tnooz -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Social Mapping, Kevin May and BTCNewsFeed, Turismedia Agency . Turismedia Agency said: Kwikchex wants freedom of speech but not deceit through TripAdvisor reviews http://bit.ly/fSFJ1M #travel […]


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