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Pressure builds to curb bogus restaurant reviews

TripAdvisor is under pressure from a Twitter campaign to require that users post a receipt from every restaurant they rate online, a move seen as a way of curbing bogus reviews.

The push follows Amazon’s announcement last week that it is suing 1,000 alleged reviewers for hire—spin doctors who craft a review to fit the needs of their paying clients.  All of the accused product reviewers are in the United States.

The developments are likely to be applauded by many U.S. restaurateurs, who feel they’re at the mercy of uninformed citizen-reviewers who can hurt business with a single post on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp. Many have complained of being victimized by vengeful customers with an unjustified gripe. Others have shown that ratings came from users who never actually set foot in the restaurant.  Many believe their online assessments correspond to their willingness to sign up as a paid list-ee on amateur-reviewer sites.

The spark to curb those practices came last week from Jay Rayner, restaurant critic for London’s The Observer newspaper. He suggested that TripAdvisor ensure trust in the reviews of its users by requiring them to post a receipt from the restaurant they’re bashing or lauding.

He and sympathizers have turned to Twitter to muster support for their cause, using the hashtag #noreceiptnoreview.

 

The Observer reports that Rayner has been joined in his request by restaurateurs and other food writers. 

TripAdvisor has not responded publicly to the receipts suggestion.
 

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