Fake Reviewer On TripAdvisor Jailed For 9 Months; Battle Against Fake Reviews Intensifies!
The person sold packages of 'fake reviews' for hospitality industry
If you are fond of writing fake reviews, then beware – You can be jailed!
A person writing fake reviews on TripAdvisor has been jailed for 9 months, and this has set a new precedent.
Where did this happen? And what exactly happened?
Read on to know more!
Man Jailed For Fake Reviews
A reviewer, who operated a digital agency in Italy was known for fake reviews.
Recently, an Italian court heard a case against this fake reviewer by TripAdvisor, and gave a verdict which changes the Internet forever: 9 months jail.
This is probably for the first time that a fake reviewer has been jailed, for publishing false reviews on websites.
TripAdvisor hailed this decision. Brad Young, VP, Associate General Counsel, TripAdvisor, said: “We see this as a landmark ruling for the Internet. Writing fake reviews has always been fraud, but this is the first time we’ve seen someone sent to jail as a result.”
What Was The Case?
The case was filed in the Criminal Court of Lecce, by TripAdvisor against a digital marketing agency called PromoSalento. This agency specialized in selling ‘review packages’ to hospitality industry players.
They used to pay them a fixed sum of money, and in return, the hotels, spas, restaurants received positive reviews written by fake profiles.
Now, this modus operandi was known since long, and one fine day, Trip Advisor thought enough is enough. And they filed the case against this agency.
TripAdvisor conducted a thorough research, and found that the fake reviews originated from a single IP address, which belonged to PromoSalento. As per TripAdvisor, more than 1000 attempts to login and post fake reviews were blocked by them.
The Ruling By Italian Court
The Criminal Court of Lecce actually found a law written under the Italian constitution, according to which, writing fake reviews by fake profiles is a crime.
The man (whose name has been withheld) was sentenced to 9 months jail, and ordered to pay 8,000 Euros in costs and damages.
Pascal Lamy, Chairman, World Committee on Tourism Ethics, UNWTO (The World Tourism Organization) said, “Online reviews play a major role in tourism and consumer purchasing decisions, but it’s important everyone plays by the rules,”
What Does This Landmark Ruling Mean?
In layman terms, fake reviewers can now be prosecuted and dragged to court.
Amazon has already unleashed an intense battle against fake reviewers, as it has banned all sorts of incentivized reviews, and have implemented some advanced algorithms to detect fake reviews.
In 2015, they even sued 1000+ Fiverr reviewers, who offered such fake review services. Although no legal action was taken, the Italian court ruling in favor of TripAdvisor can change the dynamics.
In India, Zomato is pretty serious about fake reviews, and they have launched some initiatives to tackle this nuisance.
Now, it would be interesting to observe how this recent Italian ruling affects the ‘fake review industry’, and how genuine review sites use this incidence to take action against fake reviewers.
Do you think that 9-month jail is a bit too harsh? Or the Italian court has made the right decision? Do let us know by commenting right here!
Image Source: http://tripadvisor-warning.com/found-on-the-web/10-fake-reviews