View Full Version : tripadvisor

05-18-2014, 09:48 PM
I haven't made a post in a while. I've been busy finishing up the paperwork on our recently-finished best-ever High Season and finalizing the arrangements for our World Cup clients (25 days and counting). Should be quiet for a couple of months now, and I'm in the mood for a good rant.


Without a doubt the most useless travel site on the planet, and the depository of the most irrelevant information and half-truths that any travel-related business has ever collected. I used to post there for a while. I tried to get out some decent information to people, even though website reviews are not even relevant to my business. I was just trying to be helpful -- a charity thing, you know. Well, serves me right, I guess.

Here's some helpful info:

1) First of all, you are getting information from people that you do not know, that is purely subjective. Do you ask those same folks where the best place is to get brain surgery done? I know that's an exaggeration, but think about it. Most people put a large percentage of their disposable income and their precious free time into a vacation. Do you really want TouristJimBob234 making your travel decisions for you? At least on CRT and Ticaland you're getting advice from like-minded paying members.

2) Tripadvisor has had its fair share of complaints about negative reviews from business owners. Some of those owners have threatened legal action unless tripadvisor took down the reviews. In many cases, tripadvisor has done just that. That means when you look at a business' rating and reviews on tripadvisor, you're seeing either a business that has had many of its bad reviews removed (none of the good ones, of course), a business who didn't care enough about its customers to address those reviews, a business that is receiving fake or inaccurate reviews, or possibly one of the very few businesses that is actually represented accurately. Now, that's the subjective opinions of users, so you might cut tripadvisor a little bit of slack on what constitutes a valid opinion, whether another person agrees with it or not. I get that.

3) But let's talk about FACTUAL information. There should be no issues there, right? Well, I have had dozens of issues with tripadvisor "facts", but here are just two incidents that are relevant to Ticaland guys, that I had with tripadvisor staff that just roll off the top of my head:

a) Myself and several other users have sent several reports to tripadvisor about the Sportsmens Lodge page. A long time ago, someone posted a photo (I assume of another "Sportsmens Lodge" somewhere in the world) of a couple of guys having a good time running a bar -- outside, ON THE BEACH. Our bombardment of reports about the incorrect photo have never even merited a response from tripadvisor. The photo is still there.

b) I wrote a review several months ago about the split-up of Hotel Little Havana into Scores and Zona II. I got back a tripadvisor form letter that says "We do not post reports about general information. Reviews must contain information about an actual visit." I wrote back, "Yeah, that's what I said. I went there, and Hotel Little Havana does not exist anymore." Well -- total shocker -- the HLH page is STILL UP, but there's nothing on Scores and Zona II. I'd be astonished if the problem isn't that there is no one with the mental capacity at tripadvisor to delete the HLH page and put up two new ones for the new establishments.

c) A few months ago, a woman from Scotland became Glasgow's "87th Best Tourist Attraction", because tripadvisor mis-categorized her as an Attraction instead of a Member. The story went viral. The Metro, in U.K., posted this dandy of an article:


"It’s not certain how this happened, however, as TripAdvisor individually screens new attractions when they are submitted." I think by "screen" tripadvisor means "we don't know how" or "we just don't care".

4) But speaking of caring, there is one thing that tripadvisor DOES care about -- sending a tripadvisor "excellence" award plaque or certificate to anyone with enough talent to create a page for their business. There are enough of those plaques and certificates in Costa Rica alone to have wiped out an entire forest. Pretty much every hotel I visit personally, or whose website I visit, in Costa Rica, has one. I have been in over 75 hotels that are the "Best Of Costa Rica." I wonder how many of them I haven't visited yet... I did a scouting trip in Manuel Antonio about 2 weeks ago. One of the hotels that I stayed in had 3 or 4 of those plaques. The manager was so proud of them, and asked if I would post a good review for him on tripadvisor. I told him that it was beneath my dignity and professionalism to post on such a garbage-dump of a website, that I would not cheapen my reputation as a travel concierge by posting on it, and that if I were him, I would use the plaques as firewood. I did tell him that he had a wonderful hotel, though -- just that tripadvisor's opinion is worthless to me.

I've got files on more disgraceful and inept conduct by tripadvisor, but I'm tired. I'll save that for later.

05-23-2014, 01:21 AM
I just got this Email from tripadvisor:

Congratulations, Speedy1!

[graphic of a full 5 Green circles]

You're in the top 1%

With 25,423 readers, you're one of the most popular reviewers in San Jose. Keep those great opinions coming.



05-24-2014, 02:21 AM
If you are a hotel or bar owner and you have a tripadvisor plaque or certificate on your wall... I'm sorry... no offense intended... You're a MORON.

06-06-2014, 12:16 AM
I just got back from a scouting trip in the Herradura area, and visited 5 establishments. They all had "Best Of" Tripadvisor awards posted on their walls (these "awards" carry several different names).

I know by now it must seem like I have some kind of personal gripe or vendetta against Tripadvisor... I really don't. I am a Travel Concierge (some call me a Travel Agent, but I do much more than that). I just don't like seeing people get bad information. Unfortunately, that is pretty much what you're likely to get on Tripadvisor (TA). Here's the backstory:

TA was started by a few people in Massachusetts over a decade ago. As the story goes, the guys had just had one too many Travel Agents send them to hotels and locations that the Travel Agents had not vetted. These guys made the (probably correct) assumption that the Travel Agents were sending them to the hotels and resorts that gave the Travel Agents the largest commissions. This has always been the biggest problem in the Travel Agent industry -- A lot of Travel Agents don't put in the time, money, and effort required to visit the locations that they're recommending to their clients. In fact, many of them are being dishonest and simply pointing people towards establishments that are not appropriate for the client, just to get a bigger commission. It's a profession that makes it very easy to be lazy and incompetent.

Once the internet really became a part of almost every household, it became super-easy for people to book their own vacations, bypassing Travel Agents altogether. Frankly, I don't blame most of them. If you're not getting good service, why spend extra for your vacation? Expedia.com will sell it cheap. So, these guys from Massachusetts get the bright idea to set up a site where users can review hotels, restaurants, etc. and then TA can compile all of that information, and then other users can look at these reviews and ratings, using that information to plan their next trip. Here are the problems with that business model:

1. Travel is a business, not a hobby. Rating and reviewing establishments requires professionalism, structure, and consistency.

2. Tripadvisor has essentially given up the professionalism required to properly evaluate establishments in exchange for the Quantity of establishments that they can rate. Their concept is that they have a massive "workforce" out in the field evaluating establishments for them. No... They do not. They have mostly a mass of casual travelers who post largely subjective reviews, and make emotional and irrational comments.

3. There have already been several investigations into hotels who are accused of contracting companies to post positive reviews about their hotels, and negative reviews about the competition.

4. Establishment owners have been successful in having negative reviews removed from the site. Other owners have accused people of posting false positive reviews.

5. I've heard this one personally several times. If an owner gets a good review from a guest, he'll ask the guest to post a review on TA, and the guest will agree. The owners never do that when the guest has had a bad stay.

6. The continuing inability of TA to correct even obviously false information (as I stated in an earlier post) clearly indicates that TA is not verifying the accuracy or integrity of posts. TA is nothing more than a message board, a chat room, that I'm sure has a few honest and objective people posting, but is largely the same as any other chat room -- full of kids and drunks and angry vacationers venting their frustrations or touting places with no objective frame of reference. TA is Reddit, 4chan, or any other site with a bunch of teenagers, Walter Mitty, or people just making stuff up -- masquerading as a legitimate source of information.


I am not here trying to hawk my business. In fact, my client list is currently closed. I do identify with the Costa Rica tourist and travel crowd, as that's how I got started in Costa Rica many years ago. I'm just trying to give guys coming down here some friendly, useful advice. But, please, DON'T base your travel decisions upon anything that you see on TA. It's OK to search TA to get some business names to help you begin your research, but please don't trust any of those reviews or ratings -- and don't pay any attention to any of those plaques in these hotels and other places. Use Fodor's or Frommer's or Lonely Planet. Get recommendations from friends, family, business associates, and any other people that you know and trust.

07-31-2014, 10:41 AM
I had forgotten about this thread...

I was at a very nice little Bed & Breakfast on the outskirts of San Jose all day Tuesday, Tuesday night, and Wednesday morning this week.

Well, this little B&B has over 600 reviews on TripAdvisor(TA), over 90% of which are 5 stars(bubbles). I arrive at the place on Tuesday, around lunch-time, and meet the owner/operators. They are very nice people, and I start talking to them about their place, gathering information on their house and the surrounding area. It is, in fact, a solid 4-star place for a B&B in a rural suburb of San Jose. When I walk through the main dining area, there is their little office off to the side of the dining area, and there are all of the TripAdvisor signs, plaques, and stickers. This place is completely eaten up with TripAdvisor accolades. They are good people, and the place is very nice, so I bit my tongue.

So... The day passes by, I sleep all night, and in the morning I rise late (around 10 a.m.). I pack my bags and take a shower before I leave the room, so that when I hit the bottom of the stairs, I am ready to pay my bill and head home. As the owner is getting my bill ready, I stand and stare at all of their TripAdvisor awards on the wall. I can't resist, and I say, "Hmmmm! TripAdvisor! Not my favorite people!"

The owner just glares at me and says, "Don't get me started! They're just Bullies! All they want to do is sell you this and that so that you look better on their website!"

I was completely taken aback. That was not what I expected to hear, at all. Here's this "At the Forefront of San Jose B&B's", #1 on TripAdvisor establishment, awards plastered all over their walls... and the owner is basically telling me that TripAdvisor Sucks! These people are smarter than I thought -- Which probably explains why they have cornered the market on TripAdvisor's list of San Jose B&B's

This place is not big. It's a 2-person, USA transplant operation with very nice, but not luxurious, accommodations. They have 5 rooms for rent. It's certainly nothing approaching 5-star quality, but it's a clean and nice place. The location is certainly nothing special. But they know how the TripAdvisor game is played. TripAdvisor is nothing but a clueless bunch of yahoos who have figured out a way to extort money from businesses by putting up a website so that teenagers from Croatia (who have never been outside of their home village) can tell everyone how awesome or terrible a hotel in Tahiti is.

So, you put up a bunch of TripAdvisor signs, get everyone that visits you to notice that you're a "Travelers' Choice" for 5 years in a row, and then get those visitors to post even more ultra-positive reviews about your place. That's how the game is played. It's a FIVE ROOM B&B, and it has more reviews on TripAdvisor than almost every high-capacity hotel in the San Jose area -- and most of their reviews are FIVE BUBBLES (or stars). Don't get me wrong, these people run a good ship.

We all agreed -- We hate TripAdvisor, but we have to play their game.

But think about that the next time you think about trusting TripAdvisor for your travel plans.

08-14-2014, 05:59 AM
Good old TripAdvisor -- You gotta love 'em. Not everyone can make millions of dollars by getting teenagers in Croatia to post reviews of the Burj al Arab for free. But those reviews are 100% reliable -- After all, those teenagers saw a photo of the Burj al Arab in a magazine once -- and it looked AWESOME!

So, yesterday I'm talking with a hotel owner in the San Jose area, who runs a hotel with a TripAdvisor "Travelers' Choice" plaque on the wall. Well, I better narrow that down a bit, since by my latest count, over 650 hotels in Costa Rica, and over 100 hotels in San Jose alone, have "Travelers' Choice" plaques on their walls.

This particular owner felt left out because he didn't have a "Travelers' Choice" plaque. TripAdvisor had been trying to extort him into "buying" a plaque, by purchasing an upgraded package on TripAdvisor to "enhance" his business. He finally caved in, and two months later -- "Abracadabra!" -- a TripAdvisor "Travelers' Choice" plaque shows up in the mail!

I decide to have a little fun with him, and said, "What's the matter? You couldn't get all your employees and friends to post good reviews about your hotel, and bad reviews about your competitors' hotels? That's what every other hotel owner in the world does. Nice plaque, by the way. I've got mine on my wall at home, too."

He says, "But you don't own a hotel."

I say, "You don't need to own a hotel to get a 'Best Hotels in Costa Rica' or 'Travelers' Choice' award. Just make one up. That's what I did. Or... you could make your hotel a little more attractive by posting some photos of the beach on your hotel's TripAdvisor page. You probably didn't even know that the Vagrant's Lodge in Barrio Otoya, San Jose was a beachfront hotel, did you? Check out their TripAdvisor page!"

TripAdvisor recently bought Viator -- another Chat Room masquerading as a Travel website, just like TripAdvisor. Viator even has this brazenly asinine statement right on the front page of their website:


Don't believe us? See what real travelers have to say.

We can't be everywhere every day, but our customers can. For the latest scoop, nothing beats a review or photo posted by someone who was just there. Over 3 million people have traveled with Viator and they have opinions you'll want to hear.


So... Viator... I mean, now, TripAdvisor...

You can't be everywhere... So, how exactly did you VERIFY the reviews and photos of over 3 million amateurs who have no travel-industry training or experience?

How fucking gullible do you think people are? Oh... right... you made hundreds of millions of dollars last year by disguising 'cut and paste' chat room transcripts from 9-year-olds playing "Medal of Honor" and passing them off as real hotel reviews. You got me there -- people are pretty gullible, I guess.

08-14-2014, 06:14 AM
Here's my 2014 "Certificate of Excellence." TripAdvisor did finally figure out my hotel was fictitious, and took my page down -- But not until after I got my certificate and two plaques!


The "Solivar Hotel" is named after Simon Bolivar -- I threw in a few photos from the Zoo (named after Simon Bolivar), a swimming pool at a resort in Manuel Antonio, and the bedrooms in my apartment.

01-07-2015, 04:34 AM
As we begin the new year, I thought I'd give an update on TripAdvisor, from my perspective.

TripAdvisor continues to offend me with their outright misrepresentation of their data as "reliable."

As a travel professional, I visited and reported for my business, in the year 2014, within Costa Rica, on:

242 Hotels/Resorts, including 118 Hotels/Resorts in which I actually spent at least one full night in a room...

233 Restaurants/Bars, including 172 Restaurants/Bars in which I actually dined or sat at the bar, as a customer, for at least two drinks...

121 other travel-related entrepreneurs or businesses...


TripAdvisor's "catch-phrase" seems to be "Reviews You Can Trust."

Don't make me laugh...

I can say with absolute certainty, based upon my professional and first-hand experiences with travel businesses in Costa Rica, that TripAdvisor (TA) has no idea whether their data is accurate or not.


Here are just a few excerpts from what I have in my 2014 report on TA:

1) Despite repeated messages by myself and others, the Sports-mens Lodge page continues to show a photo of the beach.

2) Despite repeated messages by myself and others, the Hotel Little Havana page remains up. When I write a review of HLH, saying, "I went to HLH yesterday, and it is not there any more" -- TA sends back a reply that says, "We cannot publish reports unless they are based upon an actual visit to the establishment." This has happened to me 3 times.

3) I haven't posted a review on TA in a long time. However, just for the Hell of it, I posted a review on HLH, as if I had actually visited "HLH", about 1 week ago, and it was immediately published. As you can see, if you look at the page, the review is related to Scores. It was a truthful review, other than the name of the Hotel, although I did "5-star" the hell out of it, tongue-in cheek. I would legitimately give Scores a positive review, based on my visit last week, but it would not be 5 stars.

4) I always research numerous informational resources regarding Costa Rica, and in particular, the venues that we include on our "Recommended" list. I have Frommer's, Fodor's, Lonely Planet and others on Costa Rica dating back 10 - 25 years. They are all full of highlighter marks and dog-eared pages noting the inaccuracies -- and those are Professional travel guides. TA doesn't even come close.

So... One of the venues on our "Recommended" list for 2015 is Peace Lodge. Well, when it came time to check out TripAdvisor, I did what I always do... I click on the "Terrible" (lowest rating) filter, and read those reviews. Then I click on the "Excellent" (highest rating) filter, and read those reviews.

First... The "Terrible" reviews. This is almost always a very low percentage of the total reviews. Curious, that...

For Peace Lodge, there are 9 terrible reviews. Here are the notes in my report, regarding some of the comments in those reviews...

1) "located in a very remote area" -- somebody didn't look at a map or do any research, did they?

2) "seemingly no one at the resort spoke English. (this was VERY uncommon for Costa Rica, the previous 3 resorts we had stayed at had all had very fluent English speakers)" -- yes, it's nice if they speak English, but guess what... it's Costa Rica... if you're going to come to CR and bitch that everyone seems to only speak Spanish, how about not fucking coming to Costa Rica? Center of the World, much... are you?

3) "everywhere else on our 10 day Costa Rica Honeymoon had breakfast included. The Peace Lodge did not and it was extremely expensive (as was all of their food)" -- so it's the Peace Lodge's fault that they don't offer a free breakfast? and their Low Season price for their most basic room is over $300, and you're surprised that the food is 'extremely expensive'?

4) "we were literally miles and miles away from any form of civilization - so we were stuck." -- nice little town with a few dining options is 'miles and miles'... 4 miles, to be exact, south of Peace Lodge

5) "Animal Sanctuary: It is a zoo with about 10 animals. And not even a nice one at that" -- you were more correct the first time... it is an animal rescue facility. It is not a zoo.

6) "they have monkeys, large cats and birds all caged up so people can see them. It made our 11 year old quite sad to see the animals living like this" -- yes, it should. if you had read the fucking sign... which, by the way, is written in both Spanish AND English, you would have read (paraphrased), 'These animals were not taken from the wild. They were rescued from abusive environments or confiscated after being illegally smuggled into Costa Rica. For various reasons, these animals cannot survive in the wild, and so must live here in our facility.' The Peace Lodge has a special authorization from the Costa Rican government to care for these animals, and the facility and the animals are regularly inspected by professionals employed by the Costa Rican government.


7) "caged animals" -- yes, they are. yes, it is sad. yes, it is necessary. if you read the sign, you would know that. One of the ocelots is schizophrenic (seriously, diagnosed schizophrenic), and must remain in a small enclosure. If she is put in a large enclosure, she will suddenly run at top speed into the cage wall, or in circles until her heart bursts. Many of the monkeys were abused and will become violent. In a large cage, they can hurt themselves quite easily.


Here is one of those sad animals. My own personally-taken photo of one of these poor cats. Yes, it is sad. But what in the hell else are you gonna do?


You might have to enlarge the image to see the cat at the back. That was the max image file size that Ticaland will accept.

Yeah, it's a cage. Yeah, that sucks. The reality is that this kitty cannot survive in the wild. So, it's either this facility or a bullet in the head.

This cage doesn't have enough room to run, but it does have plenty of things to climb on, and a few good hiding places. For many cats, that's heaven. It's certainly heaven compared to the hell this cat went through before he was rescued. And... he gets fresh, raw meat every day. "Cat Feeding" time at the Peace Lodge is a daily event. The guys will conduct a tour group, feed every single cat, and tell that cat's story to the group. Some of those stories will just rip your heart out. I don't have a problem with killing animals and eating meat. Hell... the cats do it too. I do it, too. But listening to stories of how fucking cruel mankind can be to his fellow creatures just makes me want to kick somebody right in the balls sometimes.

And then Mr. Jackwagon "Ugly American" has to come down here to CR and post his two cents worth of advice about this "zoo" on TripAdvisor. Hopefully, he had such a bad time here in CR that he'll never come back again. I, for one, don't want him here.


Side note on the animals at Peace Lodge...

There is a similar facility at The Springs, near the Arenal Volcano. It makes sense, because the same guy owns both resorts. He has a permit from the Costa Rican government to operate those facilities. When I last visited the animal rescue facility at the Springs, the Costa Rican government guys -- "Rangers" or "Wildlife Commission" -- were there doing a regular inspection. I caught one of them as he was exiting a cage after looking at a Jaguar, and we had a short conversation. As best as I can remember:

Me: This place is really nice and clean, and the animals all look healthy, but they don't look happy -- being in a cage can't make you too happy, I guess.

Him: They wouldn't be happy without the cage. Most of these animals were barely alive when we found them. Most of them have been abused so badly that they'll never really be able to just relax and enjoy life. But... This guy [referring to the resort owner] is doing a good thing. In the past, we would have just put these animals down.

Me: Yeah, I can see that it's a good thing. But it's kind of sad to walk through here and see them like this, even though it is clean and safe, and they have plenty of food.

Him: Well... the people that pay to come here pay for the cages and the food. And... maybe it's a good thing to see these animals like this, and understand what can happen when you try to keep a Jaguar as a pet. That Jaguar I was just looking at will never have more than 15 minutes of straight sleep for the rest of his life. No matter how much quiet and secluded space he has, as soon as he falls asleep, he appears to start dreaming about being beaten or something. He wakes up like he just got a huge electrical shock, every time. And that monkey over there... He'll never be in a cage with another monkey. He will kill anything that he can touch. So he gets to live alone for the rest of his life.


As for the multiple comments about the "fake" nature of the place. Well, I prep my clients for the place. It's appropriate for some people, especially large families with young children. Those kids can't appreciate Costa Rica in its entirety yet, but they can be introduced to it, a little bit at a time. As for the folks who seem surprised, I just say...

"Did you bother to look at the resort's website? Or did you just read the 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor?"

Here's a photo straight from the Peace Lodge website:


Then the guy comes back from his trip and says, "This place looks so fake!"

Wow! Can't slip anything past you, can they, Sherlock?

01-09-2015, 01:32 AM
I am in Puntarenas tonight, on a scouting trip. This is an unusual trip for me, as Puntarenas is not a typical Gringo tourist destination. However, there are a few venues here that we "keep an eye on."

The owner of the establishment in which I am staying tonight is a very meticulous guy. He is almost OCD about making sure that every single guest is 100% happy.

Well... I've had this very same discussion with several hotel owners over 30 years.

You simply can't make everyone happy.

I deal with this in my business, too. My clients have occasionally sent me an email or called me on the phone, and asked...

"What is the BEST hotel in Costa Rica?"

My answer is always the same...

"That is a NONSENSE question. There is no valid answer."

For example... The hotel that I am staying in right now... There are people that would claim that this is the BEST hotel on planet Earth. There are also people that would claim that this is the WORST hotel on planet Earth.

My job is to determine whether or not it is the best available esablishment at meeting certain needs and criteria.

In my profession, I hear this kind of stuff all the time...

"That place sucks!"

"That place is the best I've ever seen."


Those comments are amateurish and meaningless.

It is OK to say, "I did not like that place at all."

It is childish and unprofessional to say, "That's the worst place I've ever visited."

10-30-2015, 05:54 PM
Good old TripAdvisor... still trying to find its place in the world...

I haven't been following TA much lately, and I completely missed this story, although I've seen a few like it...


TripAdvisor, which accidentally "stumbled" into its business model, is still trying to make it sound good. But it can't be... It just can't... I see no way. No matter how hard you try, squirrels will never be brain surgeons, and I will never be a professional basketball player. TripAdvisor, however, seems convinced that a large Chat Room full of anonymous individuals can give you solid, reliable advice regarding your travel plans, foreign cultures, the best hotels, world-class restaurants, etc. I say "seems convinced", because I don't believe that TripAdvisor believes any of that at all, but I'll get to that in a moment.

But First... Let's examine the article in the link above.

So... a newspaper in Italy created a restaurant in a certain town out of thin air, and within a month it was the #1 restaurant in that town, on TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor's response? "In this instance, we investigated and removed from the site the listing and reviews that failed to meet our guidelines."

NO. TripAdvisor was told about the fake listing, directly, by the people who created it, and then removed the listing.

Then, TripAdvisor uttered this Pearl of Wisdom: "It is a pretty meaningless experiment to create a fake listing or reviews just to try and catch us out..."

So... The Fake Restaurant listing is a meaningless experiment? Why? It got you Good, TripAdvisor. I'd say that it accomplished exactly what it set out to do.

So then TripAdvisor cries FOUL! ... "since that is completely different from the fraud we see and catch on a daily basis."

TripAdvisor says it's not fair to trick them with a fake ad that doesn't conform to their idea of Fraud. I can't believe my ears. Did TripAdvisor actually Say That? "You can't trick us unless you trick us the way that we expect you to trick us."

TripAdvisor: "when fraudsters attempt to manipulate the rankings on our site, they leave behind patterns that we can and do trace"

Well, it doesn't seem so in this case, now does it, TripAdvisor?

TripAdvisor: “We have been tracking reviews for well over a decade, so we can spot what is normal reviewer behaviour and what isn’t- that is how we catch fraud.”

Sounds to me like you SUCK at catching fraud, TripAdvisor. All you have to do is exhibit Normal Behavior, and you've got TripAdvisor completely fooled.


My area of activity is Costa Rica. That's where my primary business is, and that's where I'm staying. Well, I can Assure you that there are Thousands of fake reviews in the San Josť Metro Area alone, posted on TripAdvisor. No... None of them are mine. I posted fake reviews on TripAdvisor in the past, but I finally got them removed. It was an experiment to see whether or not the reviews would stick. They did. Every single one of them. It wasn't until I "fessed up" that those reviews were removed. I didn't want the guilt of misleading any innocent travelers, I just wanted to make a point about TripAdvisor's true nature. That point is that TripAdvisor is nothing more than an Internet Chat Room, filled with completely worthless information. As I said... Thousands of fake reviews, just on San Josť venues.

I'll do you one better than that... And before I say it, let me say this first...

I have no intention of "outing" anyone. Number One... I'm not a Narc. I never have been, and I never will be. Number Two... My business is too damned good to ruin the tremendous boost that TripAdvisor has given my business here in Costa Rica. TripAdvisor keeps travelers away from My venues, and that's a good thing, because I want those venues for My clients. The information on TripAdvisor is so horrible that it is better than any example of why a travel professional is valuable, than I ever dreamed of.

Now, for that little tidbit of info that I promised... There are at least 2 individuals whose names have been mentioned on this board (Ticaland), and at least 8 on that "other" board (CRTitanicitanic), who post fake reviews on TripAdvisor for money or other compensation. And No... one of them is Not Me. As I said before, I don't do that. That's 10 people living in or frequently visiting San Josť and Thousands of reviews on San Josť venues, that are all frauds. And that's just the ones that I know about.

10-30-2015, 06:15 PM
Now, back to my statement that TripAdvisor "seems convinced" that their business model can work.

Why did I put "seems convinced" in quotes? Because TripAdvisor isn't convinced at all that it works, or that it ever can. TripAdvisor put lipstick on a pig, and most of the travelers and businesses in the world have kissed that pig. TripAdvisor is a marketing firm that found a product of no value, that was nevertheless marketable. Anybody remember the Pet Rock? How about the Invisible Dog?

It is not my intention to insult anyone personally, folks, but face it... TripAdvisor brought in a slick website designer, developed a "5 Bubbles" system, created "Certificate of Excellence", "Hall of Fame", "Top 25" and other awards -- out of thin air -- and you all bought it. TripAdvisor took a Chat Room (or message board, like this one, if you prefer), full of teenagers from all over the world, and with some admittedly Brilliant marketing, sold it as the Premier Travel Review website in the world.

Oh, the irony of it all...

In the past, hoteliers complained incessantly about the travel agency business and its commissions, but now they're paying good money (oh, yes... they pay TripAdvisor all kinds of cash for nonsense services) for a piece of paper with an Owl on it... an Owl that the vast majority of travelers in the world worship as if it were the Virgin Mary.

TripAdvisor has only One product of value... The TripAdvisor brand... and the goal is to keep selling it until the whole thing collapses.

Despite its claims, TripAdvisor doesn't have any "Fraud Detection" department, or anything like it, that comes even remotely close to being effective. How could it be, when the Entire Site is a Fraud?

10-30-2015, 06:31 PM
Too Good to Make Up!


TripAdvisor: 'confirms it is testing new displays on the site “to ensure we’re delivering the best possible experience for our USERS" ' (emphasis mine)

You know, TripAdvisor... at some point, I'm going to take offense at your insults of my intelligence

10-31-2015, 02:54 PM
A few of my colleagues noticed that I got fired up about this subject again, and have been sending me some good input on the subject. First of all, some links to some good reads...



Let's get one thing straight, right up front...

TripAdvisor (TA) isn't stupid. TA is one of the most savvy marketing firms that the world has seen in a long, long time. They know that their product is bullshit, and they know that 99% of the world is buying it.

It's amazing that so many people buy into it, when TripAdvisor is merely a collection of Chat Room and Message Board posts, wrapped in a slick candy wrapper of "Trusted Reviews." TripAdvisor routinely gets fooled with not only fake reviews, but also fake listings for fake establishments (see the links above). How could it not? It's not that TripAdvisor is falling down on the job, it's that the job is quite literally impossible. But TripAdvisor doesn't want you suckers to realize that, of course. One day, everyone will realize that TA is simply a Chat Room that successfully re-branded itself as a legitimate, reliable travel review site. That's good marketing. Why did everybody buy into it? Because TA's marketers are very good at what they do. The only thing of value that TA has, is the TA brand. The TA "Certificate of Excellence?" I've got one, for a hotel I created that never existed. It's really pretty easy to do. TA has No Clue how to combat fraud. There is not a single person at TA that could find a fraudulent review or listing if you took him by the hand and guided him through the entire process. TA simply doesn't care. TA is making money.

The issue of fraud is having no impact on TA's business. Actually, that's not true. The fraud issue is actually having a positive impact on TA's business, as millions of mindless TA supporters rush to TA's side, defending it against these accusations against this miracle company that is finally giving travelers a truly trustworthy source for travel planning. Seriously... How much milk comes out of the noses of TA's execs every day? They're making money off of a product that is nothing more than an empty promise, funded by the millions of fucking idiots who think that TA is awesome.

10-31-2015, 05:10 PM
Another beauty of a TripAdvisor story...

I have actually met "Mary", the owner of this B&B. Her story is a real tear-jerker.


One of TripAdvisor's little caveats regarding reviews is that they don't verify "facts." Read the fine print... TripAdvisor actually says that. If you say that a hotel is run by the reincarnation of Moses, a talking iguana, and a few Martians, TripAdvisor won't remove it. Those are statements of "fact", and it's up to the users of the site to determine whether or not those "facts" are true or not. So... poor Mary's business was torpedoed because of poor reviews of the meals that she never served. Does TripAdvisor care? Dude... There's not a single person at TripAdvisor that could find Earth on a map of the Earth. How does TripAdvisor find fraud? The person who committed the fraud calls TripAdvisor up and admits it, or a high-powered attorney calls up TripAdvisor and threatens to sue if they don't take down a fraudulent review. TripAdvisor never found a fraudulent review in its entire history, and it doesn't care. Millions of idiots read the reviews written by teenagers in Croatia and paid professional fake review writers, and TripAdvisor collects the generated revenue. Then TripAdvisor prints out a picture of an Owl on an old Epson inkjet printer that says "certificate of excellence", and mails it to some idiot running some hotel who thinks that it actually means something. Well... I bet you can't beat my Certificate of Excellence and Travelers' Choice awards for my hotel, that never existed.

12-03-2015, 08:49 AM
I just got this message from a TripAdvisor user, after he read my report on another website, in which I basically called TripAdvisor the "Hind End" of the Travel Industry...

I am not joking at all...

This person sent me this Email... And I Quote...

"Speedy1, you just don't understand how TripAdvisor works. Of course, most of the reviews on TripAdvisor are fake. A real, experienced traveler -- which apparently, you are not, Speedy1 -- knows that you have to read the reviews on TripAdvisor with the assumption that most of them are fake. It is up to you to read those reviews and determine which ones are real and which ones are fake. Once you have done that, you can then use the real reviews to determine which hotel is the best."

To Which I Responded... "Whhhaaaatttt? OK... Let me get this straight... TripAdvisor is full of fake reviews. However... a savvy traveler can weed out the fake reviews, and use the remaining reviews to help him select the right hotel. Hmmm... This sounds very familiar... ahhh... Yes! I have it! TripAdvisor sounds a lot like... THE INTERNET!" That's right, kids... by the admission of one of TripAdvisor's most loyal supporters, TripAdvisor provides information which is no more valuable or reliable than the Internet at large.