Complaints over the trustworthiness of the user-generated reviews hosted at TripAdvisor have got the site in trouble with the UK's advertising watchdog, which has told it to stop claiming all reviews are real and can be trusted. Because they might be the work of a random, bored nutcase.
Online reputation management company KwikChex and two hotels complained about TripAdvisor's uses of phrases like "Reviews you can trust" and "... read reviews from real travellers" in its advertising, because there's no verification process in place to check if the reviews on the site are indeed from genuine travellers.
Although reviewers do have to confirm their reviews are true upon submission, the Advertising Standards Authority agreed with the complainant's point of view, saying: "We told TripAdvisor not to claim or imply that all the reviews that appeared on the website were from real travellers, or were honest, real or trusted." [ASA]