My Vent at Trip "Advisor"

BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,560 20 33
#1
Ok, I hope I don't by accident violate this forums rules by I feel like I need venting and this pretty tight community of bright and intelligent people is asked to provide their view and share experiences.

TL;DR: Tripadvisor's (TA) reviews in their current uncurated and unorganized form are useless in and TA proactively makes it only worse by removing features. I've tried to suggest few small improvements over current totally manual process of trying to find useful review(s) only to met with complete denial from TA regulars(and/or TA staff).

What started this rage is twice we got burned by having bad experience and what we feel is wasted money on vacations. You see, before our son was born two years ago, we were pretty regulars visiting one or sometimes even two caribbean islands every year and except one time we hard to rely on total stranger's reviews of hotels to decide if it's worth or not to stay there.
It's been mixed experience - sometimes reviews are right on the money and sometimes are like from another planet (or more likely fake, posted by paid reviewers).
If it's not clear why the anger - it's quite simple - you go to bad restaurant - spend, anywhere from $50 to $200. And you done. Booking hotel (thing we commonly did) for two weeks is a much large commitment.
We tend to travel relatively rare, but do like to splash a bit on nicer hotels - $200-400/night
Add flight, car rental, parking and whole other expenses around that hotel. We are in mindset of hotels hopping on vacation - we just prefer nice base to stay and do a bit of travel around the island.

I have two examples to share:
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_R..._Riu_Palace_Aruba-Palm_Eagle_Beach_Aruba.html
They now have over 5500 reviews
and :
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_R...egant_Hotels-Saint_James_Parish_Barbados.html
over 500 reviews.

My TA profile and reviews are here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/members/Value1st

I had tried, I really did to show that TA's review system is not balanced correctly:
Hotel owners are near always get away with fake positive reviews of their own property, but they keep a keen eye on any negative posted. They do report and if they violate pretty long and vague set of TA guidelines (or even indirectly so) they do get immediately removed. Could you edit and post it back - well, yes and not. They only allow only 300 chars or so to be recovered from original removed review. They also don't tell you which part of review violate which guideline.

Attempts to complain in forums are even less useful as forums posts could get removed FOR ANY REASON AT ALL like it could seen here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTop...isor_Better-TripAdvisor_Support.html#79944053

Btw: Original post is for a bit here:
https://webcache.googleusercontent....dvisor_Support.html+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

I will also make a copy on my blog at http://www.boredsysadmin.com/2016/10/tripadvisor-reviews-are-dead-for-me_1.html
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,331 17 25
#3
The trouble with you is Bored, that you have forgotten, or do not realize that the world belongs to the paranoid.

Just assume everything you touch will be a fraud more likely than not. Assume any new purchases have good chance of falling apart and if electric going up in smoke. These days you will likely be more correct than not.

It is much easier to avoid disappointment with that approach.

That stood me well in my career. As soon as I hit the ICU, I assumed something had just gone wrong, was going wrong, or about to go wrong. That was by far the best attitude.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,560 20 33
#4
The trouble with you is Bored, that you have forgotten, or do not realize that the world belongs to the paranoid.

Just assume everything you touch will be a fraud more likely than not. Assume any new purchases have good chance of falling apart and if electric going up in smoke. These days you will likely be more correct than not.

It is much easier to avoid disappointment with that approach.

That stood me well in my career. As soon as I hit the ICU, I assumed something had just gone wrong, was going wrong, or about to go wrong. That was by far the best attitude.
Ok , I do agree with you on current mindset of disposable everything (which is obviously wrong),but fraud shouldn't be the norm.
Fraud should be something actively fought against.
In one of links I gave an example of google search results - it provides useful results almost always on first page or likely your query wasn't very good.
Fakespot using a bit of fancy sophistication provides great insight on honesty of amazon reviewers.
What I have a problem with is few people that mentioned to me - I don't need no stinking algorithms to tell me if review is real or not. I could do it myself. like this one:
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTop..._censorship-TripAdvisor_Support.html#79950485
The problem with this approach is very problematic since it's not uncommon to find busy properties with thousands of reviews. good luck reading all of them.

Mark this is what you are saying here, if I'm correct is the same thing.

I think it's antiquated and wrong approach and we could do better. I guarantee most of these fake reviews are written by bots (computer programs) and TA (and others) should be able to do better job of sifting this garbage automatically by an algorithms. TA is sitting on 250 MILLION of reviews. It's huge pile of big data and yet they are not doing anything with it, except now they even no longer claim that all reviews are real from real people. They now even started to book hotels directly - which makes them not any different from sites like Hotels.com,Expedia (etc...) I personally see that people were tricked to write reviews for Independent entity only to bait and switch and become just another online booking but with buttload of "trusted" reviews in place.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,331 17 25
#5
Ok , I do agree with you on current mindset of disposable everything (which is obviously wrong),but fraud shouldn't be the norm.
Fraud should be something actively fought against.
In one of links I gave an example of google search results - it provides useful results almost always on first page or likely your query wasn't very good.
Fakespot using a bit of fancy sophistication provides great insight on honesty of amazon reviewers.
What I have a problem with is few people that mentioned to me - I don't need no stinking algorithms to tell me if review is real or not. I could do it myself. like this one:
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTop..._censorship-TripAdvisor_Support.html#79950485
The problem with this approach is very problematic since it's not uncommon to find busy properties with thousands of reviews. good luck reading all of them.

Mark this is what you are saying here, if I'm correct is the same thing.

I think it's antiquated and wrong approach and we could do better. I guarantee most of these fake reviews are written by bots (computer programs) and TA (and others) should be able to do better job of sifting this garbage automatically by an algorithms. TA is sitting on 250 MILLION of reviews. It's huge pile of big data and yet they are not doing anything with it, except now they even no longer claim that all reviews are real from real people. They now even started to book hotels directly - which makes them not any different from sites like Hotels.com,Expedia (etc...) I personally see that people were tricked to write reviews for Independent entity only to bait and switch and become just another online booking but with buttload of "trusted" reviews in place.
What I'm saying is that I would not even give a moments thought to believing I would get any information worth having out of a site like TA. I would just expect to get mislead and never give the site a moments notice.
 
J

jmalecki05

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
8 1 1
#7
I despise most "reviews". especially when its impossible to vet the credentials of the reviewers. In my experiences, reviews for restaurants are completely useless and trip advisor is not much better. (hotel reviews are equally pathetic).

The only good I would say about TA, is their "Top things to do in X City". Then again, in most touristy cities, its quite low hanging fruit to "rank" the top suggestions (eg. the colosseum in Rome or the Eiffel Tower in Paris)
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,560 20 33
#8
By some miracle, FakeSpot is now could help to spot fake reviews on TripAdvisor. I ran a few of my obvious places where TA rating drastically differs from my own ratings and in 80% of cases, FS was accurate predicting low-quality reviews as result a lower adjusted rating.
They also support Amazon, Walmart, and Yelp.
Is it really bullet-proof? Probably not, but still a great way to double check reviews.
 

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