TripAdvisor blocks posts about dangerous Mexican resorts

Originally published at:

See? We don’t send our rapists and criminals over to your country. We keep them in our resorts.


Trip Advisor is a pretty bad thing.

Some years ago I was the administrator of a popular discussion site devoted South American plant medicines. Someone (a few someones, actually) posted some warnings about an abusive Ayahuasca retreat owner (whom has since died I hear). Sexual improprieties were alleged, which I believed based on personal knowledge (I friend of mine actually slept with the guy in the post “ain’t the world wonderful” glow of a ceremony. Of course, this resort owner – call him SP for grins and giggles – threatened legal action. It seemed bogus to us, so we ignored it. Problem solved!

Same thing happened at Trip Advisor. They pulled the negative reviews.



The site is free and makes money from their hotel booking system and from advertising. That means you are not the customer - these resorts are.


Well hey, who wants to think about rape and death when they’re on vacation? Lighten up, guys.


Well, there are two sides of the coin.

TripAdvisor and similar websites are pretty much worthless when looking about trustworthy information about hotels and similar establishments. Even when the site owners aren’t manipulating the reviews outright, it is very common to use sockpuppet accounts to post false reviews while trying to harm competitors. It is very difficult to validate something like that and the “dirt” sticks there essentially forever. Smaller hotels in places where there aren’t many tourists can easily go belly up because of lost business like this - and it costs literally nothing to the competitor. Threatening to sue, whether the site or the person who posted the review is a common fare as well. Most will bend over and remove the posting because it is easier (and cheaper) than trying to defend against a defamation suit with little to no evidence.

Imagine what would happen with e.g. the Mandalay Bay hotel in Vegas if these kinds of “reviews” were allowed - heck, there were almost 60 people killed there and 550 injured, that has to be a horrendous hotel! Don’t go there or you could die! Owners of smaller establishments could well go broke over a review or two like that (shooting? = “there are gangs there, run!”), even though the freak event was none of their fault.

So while I am sorry about what happened to the lady in the original article, dealing with rapists and similar is neither the business of TripAdvisor nor the hotel/resort where she has been staying. Similar thing can happen even in a 5 star hotel in New York, heck there is even a certain guy who owns a lot of hotels (and now sits in the White House) that has openly gloated how he can assault women without any repercussions … That is a matter for police and courts - it is not the fault of the hotel that a guard goes rogue and rapes a customer (of course, the hotel could be sued for damages as the employer of the rapist, etc. but that has nothing to do with the quality of the hotel - which is what TripAdvisor is about).

That’s most likely why the TripAdviser “badges” get reset after three months - it is exactly to prevent the reviews and scores to be tainted by what are most likely one-off events from long time ago. If the problem is not a one-off, then more bad reviews will pour in and the badge/poor rating stays on. Did she mention she is trying to get the bad review in for 7 years? That’s sounds more like trying to get a revenge for getting hurt than actually posting helpful information - most likely the place has changed a lot in those 7 years and such review wouldn’t be too useful today. And those 7 years ago the above would have likely applied.


Indeed, though I prefer a slightly different phrasing being:

Always remember and never forget that you are the product - not the customer! And just like a car, TV or garment, your (personal, subjective) experience as a product is of little if any interest to the managers and engineers productizing you for their true customers (advertisers, investors, …).

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Agreed about Trip Advisor. People doing travel research should not get lazy and just look in one place for information/advice/guidance. I just did a check and found my one and only negative hotel review still on the Fodors site. They published it seventeen years ago. If you have information to share about a problem, there are multiple places to publish it where it will be seen if someone searches for a location by name.

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I’ve been watching TripAdvisor’s page for Camelot Castle Hotel for a while. The place is run by a Scientologist, and is truly appalling. Perpetual renovations, fire escape windows painted shut, toilet pods, a creepy artist in the basement who practically mugs people to buy his worthless paintings. It’s like Fawlty Towers without the charm.

The owner is continually blaming Scientology critics, getting bad reviews scrubbed, flooding with fake positive “magical place” reviews, even trying to bully real customers that leave bad reviews. The plain truth is the place is bloody awful. (Oh, yeah, and he’s a big Trump supporter.)

If TripAdvisor can’t handle that, then I have no trust that they’ll handle worse problems.

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Well what did they expect? Tripadvisor probably gets paid to promote the resorts.

I wonder what the badges must look like.

Just my personal experience: I have used tripadvisor a lot and have never felt cheated, but I usually read the worst reviews first, work my way up to the more favourable ones and try to take into account the background and review history of posters. No offense, but I have often found reviews especially by Americans to complain a lot about stuff I don’t really care about and probably wouldn’t even have noticed.

So I do put a lot of research time into the postings on tripadvisor itself and, once I have narrowed down a selection, try to find further reviews on other sites or travel blogs.

I have also posted a number of reviews myself, mostly of restaurants, some of them quite unfavourable, and have never had a problem with them getting published.

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I’ve had similar experiences with TripAdvisor. I’ve posted a few dozen reviews over the years, with the kind of information I’d want to see in a review. Even the 1-star reviews have been published, but I’ve also made sure my review’s tone was civil if not polite.
I read the worst reviews first, then do a search for “bed” and read those reviews (because a good bed is important to me, even when traveling). Often the bad stuff was the fault of one employee who was inept, or a problem that was not mentioned to the staff or management at the time, or as noted,

I find TripAdvisor better than Yelp or restaurant reviews. You can see which places have reviews from mostly locals who really like it and visit often. In my experience, Yelp is pretty much all locals, many of which have a vested interest in a place, or worked there, or have friends who do work there, and skew ratings upward or misrepresent what you get.

As a woman who has traveled solo, I like knowing if a place has a skeezy air or a bad reputation. I also know terrible things happen to women everywhere. I understand the tendency to not want to publish something that blames the resort, hotel, or whatever for the act of one person who worked there, but if the person still works there because no one has been outraged enough to try to stop it, publication of the assault might have shone some light. I’ve seen hotels change their behavior over robberies that have been reported in TripAdvisor posts, but to date I’ve never seen a review that included an assault of any kind. Maybe that’s because I generally look for hotels on old US highways, not in resort areas.

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