A pending bill would prohibit retribution for negative TripAdvisor and Yelp reviews

The recent passage of the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 in the House of Representatives raises a new question about the reliability of online reviews for travelers.
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How to read an online review like a pro

Online review sites offer what appears to be helpful information. But it’s not always reliable.

Just a few days ago, Italian authorities fined TripAdvisor $600,000 for failing to adopt controls to prevent false reviews, while at the same time promoting the site’s content as “authentic and genuine.”
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How do I spot a fake review?

Online reviews are great sources for information about a hotel or restaurant — except when they’re not. Here’s how to spot a fake.

Why fake reviews don’t really matter

Catchawan/Shutterstock
Catchawan/Shutterstock
Don’t believe everything you read online, especially on user-generated review websites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp, which claim to help you find the best hotels and restaurants.

At least that’s the standard warning issued repeatedly by travel experts for the last decade. The ratings are rigged by hotel or restaurant operatives, or by unhappy patrons trying to shame a business, they say. Since the sites make no meaningful efforts to stop these bogus posts, all the so-called user-generated sites should be ignored when you’re planning your next trip.

That’s wrong.
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