The TripAdvisor Cloud | Cloud industry forum

The TripAdvisor Cloud

More than 400 hotel and restaurant businesses in the UK and US prepare for defamation suit

More than 400 hotel and restaurant businesses in the UK and US have indicated they are prepared to join a 'group defamation action' against TripAdvisor, which claims to be the world's biggest travel site. The controversial travel website is being hit over its 'false' and 'unfair' reviews, leaving the hotel and restaurant sector concerned.

Andy Burton, chairman of the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) commented: "TripAdvisor is undeniably one of the most successful online travel websites and has illustrated how the internet can be used effectively as a strategic business model. On the other hand, this is one of the first public battles against a company based online and automatically sends a warning signal to those who may be open to defamatory claims, and particularly where the accusation is that some of the information published on the site by anonymous third parties is untrue and misleading.

"Despite not having a physical presence, organisations operating online need to ensure they have full accountability and control over the information they provide access to and should also abide by industry regulations and good practice. This situation centres around whether it is acceptable to have anonymous commentary that complains about a company or hotel without any evidence to support the claim or identity of the alleged complainant. Whilst CIF clearly supports the freedom of speech and the use of the internet, there also needs to be accountability and transparency to ensure that inaccurate, unjustified, unsubstantiated or malicious claims are not aired as if they are valid and genuine.

The need for a clear code of practice and best practice for web site content and associated Cloud Service Provider operations coupled with tighter control will not limit operators but will enable them to enhance their services credibly and avoid mis-leading the public, especially around content purporting to be legitimate and valid 3rd party complaints. We see this as another area where the newly announced ASA powers need to be focused," Andy concluded.

The initiative is being led by an online reputation management firm, KwikChex.com, which aims for individual businesses to have their grievances rectified by TripAdvisor.