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February 2, 2012

British advertising watchdog pulls up TripAdvisor

ASA told the travel advisor not to claim or imply that all the reviews appearing on its site were genuine

By CBR Staff Writer

One of the popular travel websites TripAdvisor has raised hackles of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for claiming that their reviews are genuine.

According to ASA, the British advertising watchdog, the website carried statements which claimed that it has more than 50m honest travel reviews and opinions from real travellers around the world, in addition to "reviews that you can trust."

The advertising watchdog warned TripAdvisor that it could not make such claims.

ASA said that it had told TripAdvisor not to claim or imply that all the reviews that appeared on the website were from real travellers, or were honest, real or trusted.

The ruling came after website users lodged complaints questioning the credibility of the travel site’s claims.

TripAdvisor argued by saying that its fraud detection systems were advanced and highly effective, however it was not practical for them to screen all reviews manually nor was it practical for them to establish the veracity of identities of all the reviewers.

TripAdvisor said they also ask reviewers to sign a declaration that their review was genuine and honest.

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But ASA contended that it was not enough to prevent non-genuine reviews from coming up on the site.

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