A PROPERTY developer who bought a rundown boozer hoping to convert it into houses found it was still getting reviews on TripAdvisor FIVE YEARS after it had closed down.
Charles Goodall, 51, purchased the derelict pub called the Bridge Inn, in Middleton-in-Teesdale, before turning into three houses.
The pub had been shut since 2011 but people continued to post reviews on TripAdvisor from 2014 to 2016, claiming to have had Sunday roasts [admittedly disappointing ones] and experienced poor service.
Mr Goodall, managing director of New Era Regeneration, said the discovery of the posts had left him sceptical of TripAdvisor.
He told the BBC: "We were looking for old photos of the pub on Google and the reviews came up. We found it quite funny.
"I did contact TripAdvisor on their website and advised them that the reviews were impossible as the pub wasn't trading and they were slow to respond."
He added: "I do use TripAdvisor myself and now I'm a bit sceptical about using the service because of this."
CRITICISM OF RELIABILITY
It comes after TripAdvisor this week said it had pulled down more than a million fake reviews last year as it fights back at accusations its site is filled with bogus write-ups.
A study by Which? found many reviews for apparently popular hotels in tourist hotspots had been made up to boost bookings.
A large number of suspicious five star ratings were from a single person who had never reviewed any hotel before or since, the consumer group found.
TripAdvisor hit back against the claims saying that, of the 66 million reviews it processed in 2018, only 2.1 per cent were fake, most of which were blocked before ever going online.
Becky Foley, of TripAdvisor, said: "While we are winning the fight against fake reviews on TripAdvisor, we can only protect our corner of the Internet.
"As long as other review platforms aren’t taking aggressive action, then fraudsters will continue to exploit and extort small businesses for cash.
"It is time other platforms like Google and Facebook stepped up to the plate to join us in tackling this problem head on."
FAKE TRIPADVISOR REVIEWS
– Two years ago a prankster famously duped TripAdvisor into rating his garden shed as the top restaurant in London.
Oobah Butler, a writer for Vice, transformed his garden shed into a fake restaurant – called 'The Shed'.
The website said: "An appointment-only restaurant located in South London, The Shed has been operating privately for years. In 2017, it decided to open its doors. As of November that year, it was TripAdvisor's top-rated restaurant in London."
Mr Butler had once made a living by writing fake restaurant reviews on TripAdvisor for £10 a post.
– Earlier this month it was revealed the Duchess of Cornwall's convicted fraudster cousin was under investigation by TripAdvisor for tampering with reviews of his hotel in Stirlingshire.
Dru Edmonstone, 47, runs the West Highland Way Hotel in Blanefield, where guests have accused staff of pressuring them into writing favourable reviews.
The aristocrat claims the scathing reviews was the work of a disgruntled ex-employee who was getting friends to rubbish the hotel on the site.
Mr Edmonstone was jailed in 2018 after he admitted embezzling £60,000 from the state, Stirling Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
– And last month it was found a new hotel in Dublin had been receiving glowing reviews – despite the fact it had not yet opened to guests.
This meant a number of disgruntled tourists arrived to check in at The Marlin and then had to be whisked off to another hotel instead.
– In April it was found a restaurant has lost its certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor after a worker was caught faking reviews to cash in on a company bonus.
Arbuckles in Downham Market, Norfolk, offered staff £10 for every positive review left on the consumer website.
TripAdvisor became suspicious when the comments were traced to one computer and all praised the same person.
The website counted them as negative reviews and Arbuckles lost its spot as the best restaurant in town.
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