Technology

Man jailed for posting fake reviews on TripAdvisor

A man has been sentenced to nine months in prison for writing fake reviews on TripAdvisor in a landmark fraud ruling.

You heard correctly, folks, you can now wind up behind bars for posting fake junk on the internet. Why would have thought?

tenor (1)

In one of the first legal cases of its kind, the Criminal Court of Lecce ruled that writing fake reviews using a false identity is criminal conduct under Italian criminal law.

The owner of PromoSalento, which sold fake review packages to hospitality businesses in Italy, was ordered to pay approximately 8,000 Euros in costs and damages.

Paid review fraud – when companies or individuals ‘sell’ fake reviews to business owners – is a violation of the law in many jurisdictions, but this is one of the first cases of enforcement resulting in a criminal conviction.

TripAdvisor supported the prosecution of PromoSalento as a civil claimant by sharing evidence from its extensive in-house fraud investigations and providing support from its Italian legal counsel.

The platform said in a statement it takes review fraud extremely seriously and employs advanced tracking technology and a dedicated team of investigators to catch paid review companies and prevent them from operating on the site.

Trip advisor sticker on restaurant window

“We see this as a landmark ruling for the Internet,” Brad Young, VP, Associate General Counsel, TripAdvisor, said.

“Writing fake reviews has always been fraud, but this is the first time we’ve seen someone sent to jail as a result.”

“Online reviews play a major role in tourism and consumer purchasing decisions, but it’s important everyone plays by the rules,” said Pascal Lamy, Chairman, World Committee on Tourism Ethics, UNWTO.

“Fake reviews clearly contravene the World Committee on Tourism Ethics guidelines, which we published last year to guide the responsible use of ratings and reviews on digital platforms.

“The recommendations were developed in collaboration with TripAdvisor, Minube and Yelp and we know that industry collaboration has an important role to play in tackling review fraud.”

TripAdvisor has urged anyone approached or contacted by companies or individuals offering fake reviews to contact paidreviews@tripadvisor.com.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

  • sting

    …. the arrest of the fake reviews provider business is not enough…. the court should also go after its clientele… remember, there will be no business if there are no customers… the customers themselves are liable..

Wholesalers

Big fat wholesaler wrap

There are only two things we like about Mondays: the wholesaler wrap and looking at all the pretty photos in the wrap instead of doing any work.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Visitors to Maria Island asked to stop taking wombat selfies

Frightened wombats on Maria Island are being chased around by tourists with selfie sticks, and if that’s not the most heartbreaking thing you read today we can’t imagine what will be.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Australian woman who overstayed Thai visa by 100 days to be sent home

An Australian woman is soon to arrive home having been placed in a Thai detention centre for “massively” overstaying her visa.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Intrepid’s $1 deposit trips have returned!

This is the most exciting news we’ve received all day and we just found out the pizza place down the road is doing a two for one deal. So that’s saying something!

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Research: Aussie travellers prioritising self-care and self-improvement trips

We’re practising self-care by making an avocado face mask and meditating for an hour. Just kidding, we’re going to eat guacamole and sip margaritas at knock-offs.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Eat your way through the globes healthiest national dishes

Personally, we’d prefer to eat our way through the world’s national desserts, but each to their own.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

PONANT now offers free unlimited WIFI on all ships

At Travel Weekly our WIFI is so limited we’ve employed an intern whose only job is to try and crack our neighbouring offices’ WIFI passwords.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Bunnik Group launches new small group brand

And what better way to kick off a new brand than by offering up to 50 per cent discounts? Well, besides free champagne and puppies but you can’t have everything.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“I saw MH370 crash”: Fisherman claims to know coordinates of wreckage

The 42-year old said he saw the flight “move like a broken kite” but could not explain why it took him five years to come forward.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Flavour of the week

Take a look at this impressive list of industry movers and shakers. The most impressive thing we’ve done lately is turning up to work on time.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Big Fat Agent Wrap

We’re so excited it’s Friday we’ve poured ourselves a glass of the semi-stale bubbles in the fridge. Here’s hoping it doesn’t give us alcohol poisoning.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Malindo Air cabin crew alleged to have carried $21 million worth of drugs into Australia

Eight people have been arrested as part of a major drug bust which involved cabin crew from Malaysia’s Malindo Air.

Share

CommentComments