Tripadvisor Practise Censorship In Discussion Forum

Tripadvisor discussion forum and reviews are heavily censored to scam their users

We had a peculiar incident with Tripadvisor discussion forum. All our discussions regarding Greece were deleted yesterday. Earlier a member calling himself aldro10 had been accusing us of lying because we had claimed that Greece was not as cheap as he said it to be. After asking if differences in opinions and mere discussion on various different views qualify as lying, all our posts related to Greece were removed. Also a post where we recommended to check Hospex options, namely BeWelcome, was removed perhaps because it was hindering his efforts to promote his favourite, or his employer’s, hotels.

To find out what is the official stance of Tripadvisor regarding censorship we posted another question to support group (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12105-k6627085-Deleting_forum_posts-TripAdvisor_Support.html) asking about their policy regarding censoring opinions. After a few minutes, this message was deleted as well.

Having a travel discussion forum where people can only discuss certain things that the moderators agree is quite pointless. The value of discussions is exchanging opinions and having a chance to change our own opinions. This is only possible if different opinions and free discussion are permitted. Arbitrary censorship will drive critical users away and promote negative groupthink.

A quick look at user complaints against Tripadvisor revealed that there are censorship problems in reviews as well. Realistic and negative reviews are harder to get published than positive ones. If this is true, who trusts Tripadvisor’s hotel reviews anymore?

See also: Bookmooch experience.

Comments

  1. gotta love people who have been TA members for 5 minutes and know everything about the site.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for sharing your insight and happy travels.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tripadvisor administration sent us the following message on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 4:15 PM:

    Hi,

    Thank you for contacting us. After reviewing the removed posts, I see that a few of your posts were removed since the original poster of a thread removed their post. When this happens, all posts within that thread are removed. The thread you started was removed since you posted a link to your blog within the text of the post, which is against our guidelines. We do allow members to post their personal blog in their signature line of the post only and it has to be to the main page of the blog, not a particular page within the blog site. We do not allow members to refer to their blog within the post as it is viewed as advertising.

    Best Regards,
    Beth
    TripAdvisor Support Team


    A quick look at the discussion forum proved that Beth was making up excuses to protect the spammer: 1, 2, 3, 4.

    You can test how censorship works if you post a reply to any of these posts asking him why he advertises those particular hotels and sights, say that you disagree with him, tell him something he does not agree about, claim that Greece is expensive because of the financial crises, or propose to his victims to use hospex instead of those expensive hotels he is promoting.

    For us the case is closed and we will delete our tripadvisor account assuming that they will let their users to delete their own accounts.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I imagine what Beth said is accurate, and that the person you are dealing with knows how the system works and deletes/replaces his first post whenever someone else adds something he doesn't like.
    Btw, posting what appears to be a private message to a blog is poor netiquette.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes, it looks that way but in any case the end result is the same: tripadvisor practise censorship. There is already piles of Tripadvisor support emails in the internet, many of them looking much like copy-pastes, so one more should not harm anyone with her family name being not disclosed.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I won't call it censorship. It's their own website, following their own rules.
    They have the right to delete posts or comments which are not in compliance with their rules.

    That's why we decided to create our own site.
    Now We can freely express our opinions about that restaurant or that hotel and don't be concerned that it will affect someone else business, which we think is the main concern of Tripadvisor in case one of their sponsors is affected by a very bad review.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sounds great. Why don´t you share the address? We would love to take a look at it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. If you want to leave Tripadvisor and cancel your account be aware, they are NOT really deleting the accounts!

    The account is just renamed in the format DDMMMYYYX where DD=Day eg. 27, MMM=Month eg. JUN, YY=Year eg. 13 and X=an alphabet letter from A to Z based on the sequence of removal so you if are the first account "deleted" then the letter will be A, the second B etc. So an account deleted today will be renamed as 07JUL13A all capital.

    The best way is to delete all the reviews and pictures posted and then delete the account.

    To delete the account you have to send an email request, of course after some time they will ask you if you are sure, that takes a week and the process it is made on purpose so you give up and leave the account (and reviews) alive on their website.

    For them the value of their website is based on the number of users registered and the number of reviews published per day, they don't care about the daily contacts. All they wants are several scans by search engine crawlers per day, so the ads are "published" more than the visits.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for the instructions and insights. That implies that they are actually in the business of selling links, doesn't it?

    ReplyDelete

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