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Internet Reviews: "They paid and stayed. We checked."


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I generally rely on Internet forums/comments for alot of information - before a purchase, to form an opinion, to understand what people think. (The ability to read different languages, and in particular to understand different cultures, is critical. The Internet is a remarkable insight to how different "teams" view the same event.)

I understand (and take into account) that the comments - like grafitti - are anonymous. So I use my, uh, personal judgment to decipher what is legitimate from what it is, uh, propaganda.

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Of course, any trades or deals or forms of co-operation are an invitation to dishonest cheaters. This potential of dishonesty is as old as, well, the first species to require two individual to co-operate to ensure offspring.

Recently, forums use "verified paid" to identify true buyers - as opposed to mere shills. But what stops a seller from refunding/offering a discount to a "fake buyer/shill" who bought the product through Amazon/expedia etc? (My son-in-law reserves a room at my hotel and writes a good comment. Cost to me? Expedia's small commission - and that introduces a huge conflict of interest for Expedia.)

IOW, there are multiple ways to game any system devised.

------

Like anyone travelling on business who meets someone else in the hotel bar at 11 pm, I use my judgment.

Edited by August1991
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It might still be possible for a company to "astroturf" these "verified" reviews, but it takes a lot more effort, and money as well.

If some hotel or whatever decides to go to guests and say "hey, give us a positive review, and we'll comp your visit" or some such arrangement, it's taking cash out of their pocket. Compare that with a situation where they can simply create a fictional name and write any number of glowing reviews to drown out comments from actual guests who may have signed in to voice real complaints about their stay.

-k

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The worst by far (IMO) is Trip Advisor. Many consider their reviews to be the "Gold Standard" for travel advice, but a large number of the reviews on there are paid for. There is a small industry related to hiring writers to post fake reviews, especially negative ones. TA never verifies anything either.

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The worst by far (IMO) is Trip Advisor. Many consider their reviews to be the "Gold Standard" for travel advice, but a large number of the reviews on there are paid for. There is a small industry related to hiring writers to post fake reviews, especially negative ones. TA never verifies anything either.

The first bad reviews I got kind of stung but I've seen enough good to pretty much let most of the bad one's roll off my back. You eventually come to realize that you can't please everybody and that shit sometimes just happens. I've gotten a cash tip and a bad review from different people on the same trip so it's a bit of a head-scratcher some days alright.

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The first bad reviews I got kind of stung but I've seen enough good to pretty much let most of the bad one's roll off my back. You eventually come to realize that you can't please everybody and that shit sometimes just happens. I've gotten a cash tip and a bad review from different people on the same trip so it's a bit of a head-scratcher some days alright.

Bad reviews for ? Your boat ?

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Their experience, sometimes me, the boat, the weather, the whales. It's always something. Once it was because my deckhand didn't babysit someone's kid. In any case the good reviews vastly outnumber the bad and I think the number of people who don't write reviews vastly outnumber the one's who do. I really don't know what to glean from that except that it all seems like a whole lot of fuss and bother for not much return. It's all so much new age social media connectivity hype to me, I really don't get it.

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. I really don't know what to glean from that except that it all seems like a whole lot of fuss and bother for not much return.

Clearly, you should charge more. A consulting book I read said, basically, you should charge exactly the amount where it would mean as much to you to take it as to walk away.

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Clearly, you should charge more. A consulting book I read said, basically, you should charge exactly the amount where it would mean as much to you to take it as to walk away.

There's a lot of competition for whale-watching tours. Everyone charges roughly the same price. If he's charging a lot more than the competition, people just won't travel with him. Unless he does something to make it worth their while to choose his boat. Something unique that others aren't doing. I once went on a tour and it cost a bit more than the competition, but that's because it was on a tall ship. They served soup on board, had a fish tank with things like sea cucumbers in it, and really got the kids involved in activities and stuff. It was well worth the extra money they were charging versus bouncing out on the waves in a zodiac and turning around and coming back to shore to throw up.

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I know nothing about the cost, not my department. I was thinking more about the effort spent thinking or worrying about bad reviews vs good ones vs the number of people. As a gauge to performance, I think tips are as good or better an indicator of how well you're doing your job.

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It was well worth the extra money they were charging versus bouncing out on the waves in a zodiac and turning around and coming back to shore to throw up.

I have to say in my experience just as many or more people get sick on the big boats. With the smaller faster boats you can at least get back in faster so people actually spend less time suffering. And I've never seen anyone get sick once they got back, it's always out there and when you stop to look at something, heaving up and down in big seas as opposed to running through them makes quite a difference and they usually always feel a lot better once they're back at the dock.

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I don't usually buy big ticket electronics without checking out reviews on sites like CNet and PCmag. I really enjoy reading the comments because they always turn into fights about which platform is better. Being the Apple hater I am, I enjoy the fight.

As for hotels and resorts. Usually you can get a good idea of what the place is like by the photos. Sites like TripAdvisor show pics of the hotel from patrons so you don't just have to see the glam shots.

I usually find hotel reviews snobby. People have unrealistic expectations staying in a $100/night hotel room or an All-Inclusive resort in a 3rd World country.

Edited by Boges
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I usually find hotel reviews snobby. People have unrealistic expectations staying in a $100/night hotel room or an All-Inclusive resort in a 3rd World country.

Many hotels in the Third World have no internet presence of their own, no websites or online booking, sometimes no phone and cash only is ommon.

But some do get reviewed extensively on sites and guides like Lonely Planet.

It has an interesting effect on both their business and that of other places nearby, since people just show up based on that guide reference and expect the same great experience and low price that got them reciommended in the first place.

First, they are always more exepsnive since they have so many people showing up.

Second, their service will almost always be worse than the reviews- reviews that may have been accurate at the time. But with the increased flow of traffic, the owners cannot keep up.

Finally, other hotels nearby often up their game to get a share of the increased traffic, and often do not increase prices.

So- in small places in India or elsewhere, pick a goodlooking place next door to the one recommended- it will likely be cheaper and better!

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Most of the time on trip advisor or yelp I look for commonalities between reviews. If all the negatives say the same thing, then I'm concerned. Consistency is key because then that points to an underlying issue.

I see that the opposite way. Consistent negatives often indicate a common writer.

My experience with Caribbean resorts especially is that the most consistently reported negatives are things that you never saw even once during the entire stay. Over-the-top things like "no running water on the entire resort" -- something you'd obviously notice if it were true.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I don't usually buy big ticket electronics without checking out reviews on sites like CNet and PCmag. I really enjoy reading the comments because they always turn into fights about which platform is better. Being the Apple hater I am, I enjoy the fight.

Boges, you put your finger on the issue.

Team A vs Team B.

Edited by August1991
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