India is the country most likely to create paid Tripadvisor reviews that violate community standards, a new report from the platform has revealed.
Released today, Tripadvisor's 2021 Review Transparency Report covered the volume and nature of reviews made around the world, using more than a year's worth of data between January 1 2020 to January 31 2021.
Within that time period, more than two million reviews were rejected; 8.6 per cent of all submissions.
According to the report, reasons for rejection include:
1. Violation of community standards
2. Are fake, fraudulent or intend to deceive travellers
3. Administrative reasons such as business closure
Almost 40 per cent of rejected or removed reviews in 2020 were 'fake reviews', meaning they were biased positively, biased negatively or paid.
This amounted to close to 1 million reviews.
In 2020, Tripadvisor removed paid reviews from 131 different countries and found certain countries consistently produced more paid reviews than others.
India was top of the list, followed by Germany, Brazil, the US and Pakistan.
Top 10 Countries by volume of paid review submissions:
- 1. India
- 2. Germany
- 3. Brazil
- 4. US
- 5. Pakistan
- 6. Greece
- 7. Argentina
- 8. Bangladesh
- 9. Turkey
- 10 Italy
Russia, which held the top spot in 2018, did not even feature on the top 10 list, illustrating how paid reviews can sometimes be tied to major events.
In 2018, when the Russia hosted the FIFA World Cup, Tripadvisor saw a spike in fake reviews as paid review companies tried to capitalise on the influx of visitors.
However, the keyword in this list is 'produced'.
Hospitality businesses in these countries aren't necessarily more prone to receiving paid reviews, but writing the submissions and 'selling' them to properties around the world.
In total, the platform received 26 million reviews in 2020, compared to 66 million reviews in 2018. Although there were fewer reviews posted in 2020, the percentage of fraudulent reviews increased, hitting 3.6 per cent, up from 2.1 per cent in 2018.
Online reviews are becoming an increasingly important tool for consumers looking to make informed decisions and The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) CEO Liz Ortiguera said reliability was critical.
"Customer reviews are an important source of information for both consumers and businesses. Ensuring that those reviews are authentic is crucial," Ortiguera said.
Tripadvisor isn't the only company battling against phoney contributors. Platforms like Facebook, eBay, Amazon and Google have all voiced plans to crack down on the issue.
Read the full Tripadvisor 2021 Review Transparency Report here.