GER to GER Reviews on Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet
Yes, Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Should be Fined owing to No Due Diligence and No Due Process, and its Role in Supporting Unethical Victimization of Businesses Online via Their Company Sites; Become Responsible, Fix it!
Without supportive documentation and proper evidence – its called public defamation and slander; and when people do it to force you to pay something its called extortion and defraud. Though considered illegal in many countries around the world, why does Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet continue to support such unethical online activities within their own company forums? So, yes – I believe its time to have tourism associations around the world to honestly review the good and “the bad”; and encourage Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet to fix their issues as well as creating greater levels of transparency highlighting what exactly they do to protect consumer and supplier from fraud. I have worked overseas long enough to have a health sense of questioning situations and not to blindly accept someone’s statement of “we won’t tell you but trust us”; that alone sends 100s of red flags. The best of any industry (doctors, mechanics, security, etc.) all have one thing in common – they are able to relate important information to their clients to ensure a strong mutual trust and mutual comprension of the situation. Granted they probably won’t go into the micro-details but they will professionally relay enough information that highlights that they are being fair and accountable; with detailed documentation ready for submission if anything were to go wrong.
Months and Months have been Spent
After months (and in other cases years) of highlighting and proving both false and inaccurate public reviews on Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor being publicized as fact, it would seem that the Italian Tourism Association has also carried out their own legal research (over 7 months) and have concluded the same as me to which they formally submitted an official legal complaint with a $600,000 fine against Trip Advisor. Some may say “poor” Trip Advisor, but how many local family businesses have been destroyed owing to organized fraudulent reviews that have gone public on Trip Advisor without any due diligence nor due process? Yes I agree, Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet are tools for good but when they are not monitored they can become “compromised tools” to do massive and irreversible harm too. When a car manufacturer sells vehicles with “unchecked issues” to the general population – they recall them back at the expense of the manufacturer; this practice should extend to Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree alike – they should be financially liable for “unchecked issues” that they manufacture and send out to the general population too. Personally, regardless if they able to fix their situation – I strongly believe that all cases where local businesses have been directly harmed should be compensated owing to Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree’s lack of due diligence and due process. Why should big business continue to be held not accountable for destroying small businesses, especially when small businesses take the brute force of unethical people using big business brands and forums as their head-hunting tool for fraudulent activities? Have these business forgotten that its owing to the travel businesses that they are in guide-book/online business? Yes, travel businesses operate the supply chains and they are just reporters; but even reporters are held legally accountible for their reports as they can become easily corrupted, manipulated and coerced which leads to larger publication related issues. These issues often greatly influence the travel businesses and sometimes forcing them to close down their operations without any due diligence nor due process; and thats not ethical by any international standards.
Support Fair Play
I am a strong proponent of “fair play” as increased liabilities and protective measures should be implemented in these forums to foster a more Responsible Environment. Anyone who operates businesses generally invests years of effort, personal funds and energies into their causes, dreams, ventures, products and services. As we all know, none of us operate a 100% over 100% – there are the occasional operational mistakes and issues that we all have to learn and grow from; granted. However, there are also those who unethically try to harass and defraud businesses for a few dollars and when they are not successful they resort to online defamation and worse; organizing false reviews etc., to intentionally damage businesses to cure their ego-issues. I am not only a founder/ceo – I am an international traveler and explorer and I have seen this type of behavior among numerous travelers around the world first-hand; lets be honest, its a non-shocker to us all (“hair in the cheeseburger for a refund”, etc.).
There is a Simple Solution for Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet’s Madness
Today, my post isn’t in reference to what people say but rather to suggest a concept for both Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet to consider; as I am also an active user of their services. When users register, why don’t you simply provide a disclaimer that states that your company isn’t liable for postings hence users shall submit a valid passport copy as apart of the registration process and inform the users that they are legally liable for their written content? And to ensure fairness (concerning complaints), why not include an attach supportive documentation (due diligence) and submit option prior to posts being made publicly? Once submitted and approved by Trip Advisor and/or Lonely Planet, the given company should be notified and given an opportunity to officially respond within 2 weeks. Forum monitors would then have an opportunity to review the case and determine whether or not that this is something that they want publicly associated with Trip Advisor or Thorn Tree; after proper due diligence and due process was carried out. If the reviews are true then no future issues, however if they are false then there is no reason to post them. But for what ever reason if they do get posted and the given company has a legal issue with the post, they can just simply report the issue to IC3.gov or similar agencies (part of the user registration disclaimer; your are liable for your content as a reporter – keep the reviews honest and accurate; be sure that you have proper documentation to support any and all claims and submit any/all documentation with your report as an attached file or files).
Fix Your Forms
This process is not complicated as in each new posting you would simply have a drop down menu with the following selections:
ONLY 1ST PARTY CLIENT REVIEWS (Not 2nd/3rd Parties; nor Fake Reviews)
- Positive Review
- Negative Review
Once selected then the associated form with all the proper fields and documentation upload options (valid passport, photos, etc.) would be available; with the given company’s contact email.
It Takes Only 20 Minutes Max; I know, I build Websites
This process is not that complicated, as a matter in fact, I could design and have such a form uploaded and ready for my sites use within less that 20 minutes…
For 20 minutes of work, Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree could be saving 1000s family businesses, community businesses, small medium enterprises, etc., all around the world from all the unnecessary nonsense of unethical users.
20 Minutes Saves 1000s of Businesses; So why haven’t you done it yet?
How much does Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree costs businesses for their lack of Due Diligence and Due Process? Months and sometimes years of non-billable pay to rectify some nonsense that nearly forces businesses to shutdown and etc., that is Not Responsible nor Ethical Tourism; please kindly consider investing 20 minutes into your forms.
Sorry Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree, I agree with Italy; No Due Diligence and No Due Process – Yes, you should get Fined!
One of countless businesses and organizations around the world that have been victimized owing to your lack of Due Diligence and lack of Due Process and lack of interest to invest 20 minutes of your time into making proper user registration forms and disclaimers for your forums years ago to protect everyone, both clients and suppliers, from fraud.
No excuses, just get it done.