Kunming’s restaurant review page on TripAdvisor is hijacked over last 6 month. One massive company who own the Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Intercontinental come out of nowhere dominate the restaurant review page. You check them out you see they have found a way to pay for hundreds of boosted reviews. It is too bad that now any visitor coming to Kunming will be directed to hotel restaurants instead of local restaurants.
Bought & paid for, I'd guess, by corporate money creeps.
All the news that fits, they print - it's called advertising, often by paid liars or liars-by-omission, and the more secretly manipulative it is, the better.
This is common practice. You can pay to get bumped up almost any search results list on most browsers, and have been able to for many years. It is also a major source of revenue for sites like trip adviser. These sites are independent review bodies, they are companies and that means that their main purpose is to make money. That is how your 'free to access' information is paid for.
Disgusting, isn't it.
I'm a regular reader and reviewer on TripAdvisor.
About once a month they publish a short list of the top reviewers in the city. A few years back one person suddenly came out of nowhere with hundreds of reviews submitted in just one month.
That reviewer also disappeared after a while.
Obviously on somebody's payroll.
@Ishmael, not disgusting, just the real world. All of us currently enjoy lots of 'free to view' content. Without revenue streams to support these they would be behind 'pay walls'. As has happened to a lot of newspaper and other sites that cannot gather enough 'card carrying' or other revenues.
GoKunming is supported by card carrying revenue, at least. Another site I am involved with is supported by member donations.
Tiger to be fair these sites are supposed to reflect real experiences of real people. That's how they tout themselves. If they can't weed out the fake reviews then they're not much use. To be honest I don't think things have got that bad yet but Ishmael is right that corporate fakery is disgusting. We get free content ok. The web companies get free content too - our data - and monetize it. There's no excuse for misleading us as well.
Technically, and legally the website owner is not misleading you. Arguably they are allowing you to be misled, but as most people are aware that there are bogus reviews on this site, the argument is moot.
The argument about advertising generally, and this website business, is not moot - everybody is aware that advertising is not a matter of presenting balanced truth, yet advertising continues and is clearly effective - otherwise why would companies, who are openly out to make money as their primary goal, lay out all that cash and organization to produce it? The heart-rending thing is that the producers have very little interest in whether what they say is true, because that's not there goal.
To say that the argument is moot is to say that advertising, including the surreptious kind under discussion here, doesn't work, and I think you'll agree with me that that is absurd. Edward Bernays, in his seminal, clear and quite honest 1929(?) book entitled Propaganda, understood this well (as did one of the admirers of his book, Joseph Goebbels). Bernays was simply stating how, and why, it was necessary (in his opinion - and he was no Nazi) for modern states and modern economic entities to manage and control the public mind.
And this is how modern advertising (which, historically, really kicked off in the US first), PR and modern state propaganda, was launched. The entire methodology of modern manipulation (yes, manipulation of people's minds is as old as the hills) very greatly depressed the leftist intellectuals of the Frankfurt (Critical Theory) School, who pretty much concluded that it represented, according to one dramatic and frightening title of an article by Max Horkheimer, "The End of Reason" - read it and weep.
Back to Tripadvisor: no, there's nothing particularly evil about what they do, it's simply general practice in the ocean we live in - we all spend our lives in this overall environment and tend to imagine that it represents some hardwired "state of nature", about which nothing can ever be done. That may be true and it may not, but either way, contrary to Edward Bernays, I don't think it's anything to celebrate.
Hmm, I seem to have jumped from very specific to very broad generalities, but I hope this helps to explain why my comments are what they are.
If you don't think it is moot, you have missed the point.