tripadvisor magnify
2 years ago

TripAdvisor CEO warns against dodgy optimisation companies

Steve Kaufer has written a strongly worded letter to owners of hotels, restaurants and other services to warn them of attempts at fraudulent activity on TripAdvisor.

The president and CEO of the user review giant says it wants to help owners combat “individuals, often masquerading as legitimate companies” that are working to extract money with practices to “distort the content available on TripAdvisor”.

An official says there is no specific reason for sudden the letter from Kaufer, only that it felt “the timing was right” to communicate in this way as it knows owners want to understand its stance given recent media coverage about optimisation practices in general on the web.

There is also no evidence to say that such attempts at fraudulent activity have been successful.

The official adds:

“We know that hospitality businesses are sometimes approached by individuals or companies promising to manipulate their ranking or position on TripAdvisor by posting positive reviews or removing negative ones – they are known as optimisation companies and their practices are highly unethical and completely contradictory to everything we stand for at TripAdvisor.”

Kaufer is urging any business owner to report such approaches to its fraud team. Many of the activities being offered are against the law, it says.

It is unclear at the moment if the letter was sent to every owner on the TripAdvisor database, or if it is specifically targeted at particular types of services, regions or cities.

Here is the letter in full:

kaufer letter

NB: TripAdvisor image via Shutterstock.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin is senior editor and a co-founder at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.

He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and publishes his first book - a biography about Depeche Mode - in 2017.



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  1. Etrusco Viola

    Tripadvisor says “…they are known as optimisation companies and their practices are highly UNETHICAL and COMPLETELY CONTRADICTORY TO EVERYTHING WE STAND FOR at TripAdvisor…”. Ok. but now let me ask: on the contrary, allowing anyone to DEFAME, SLANDER and write LIES and INSULTS to hotels and restaurants, as TripAdvisor DOES, is it ETHICAL? And again, allowing anyone to DEFAME, SLANDER, write FALSEHOODS, ect. with TOTAL ANOMYMITY and the consequent IMPUNITY, as TripAdvisor DOES, is it ETHICAL? Look who’s preaching…!

  2. Omri Ben-Canaan

    not to every owner… or not yet anyway.


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