Fake web review pitch riles owner

Last updated 11:05 14/02/2014
Chris Birks
Derek Flynn

Seeking fairness: Hotel d’Urville owner Chris Birks thinks it’s disappointing some businesses might use fake reviews to boost their TripAdvisor profile

Relevant offers


Two New Zealand wines win trophies at International Wine and Spirit Competition 'Confrontational' letter seeking government support for Marlborough Sounds criticised Marlborough flower shop celebrates 75 years Marlborough visitors spend more on petrol than retail Blenheim Improvement District plans will not go to council NZX-listed wine company Delegat Group opens office in Shanghai Fashion accessory to market Marlborough Fruit for Christmas despite delay in picking Biggest cruise ship in New Zealand stops over in Picton Rural NZ areas sit on 'powder keg' as temperatures rise

A Blenheim business owner says he was disappointed to be offered a chance to buy fake Trip Advisor reviews.

Hotel d'Urville owner Chris Birks received an email last week from a service called TripAdvisor Reviews offering "excellent" scores to make his online profile stand out from competitors.

The service cost $97 for six reviews, $197 for 13 reviews, and $297 for 20 reviews.

Trip Advisor is a website where members of the public can review accommodation, restaurants and tourism attractions, and read reviews that others have written.

TripAdvisor is investigating the offers of fake reviews.

The Tourism Industry Association issued a media release yesterday warning New Zealand tourism operators against the service.

The release said businesses around the country had been sent the email and it was unclear whether the email originated from New Zealand or elsewhere.

Mr Birks said TripAdvisor had become a popular tool for people choosing where to eat or stay. Many customers of Hotel d'Urville, a restaurant and hotel on Queen St, used TripAdvisor.

"It wields a lot of power," he said.

"It's a bit disappointing when you work so hard to do well, and someone undermines it."

The restaurant, which is ranked number 10 out of 77 in Blenheim, has 4.5 stars out of five and 129 reviews.

Mr Birks said the online profile occasionally got a mediocre review, which was fair enough if it was justified.

Fake TripAdvisor reviews was cheating but there was not a lot anyone could do about it, he said.

"It's out of our control, all we can do is maintain our profile," he said.

Tourism Industry Association New Zealand chief executive Martin Snedden strongly advised against buying fake reviews.

TripAdvisor was investigating the email, Mr Sneddon said.

It was vital that travellers in New Zealand could trust TripAdvisor's reviews, he said. "We suggest they [travellers] should check a range of reviews and websites, as well as seeking advice from the likes of i-Site visitor information centres."

Ad Feedback

- The Marlborough Express


Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content