Fake reviews finally a thing of the past!
Consumers attach more importance than ever to reviews before they book a hotel. Unfortunately, fake reviews are also circulating. These are written either to present their own business in a pretty picture or to put their competitors in a bad light. Fake reviews can harm not only consumers but also hotels. How can we detect fake reviews? And is there a difference between open and closed platforms in this respect? The researchers Moon, Kim and Bergey (2019) took a closer look.
Today, numerous rogue reviews appear on review platforms. This has a major impact on the hotel industry and customer welfare. Therefore, researchers Moon, Kim and Bergey (2019) designed the "Trust Measure", a software system based on extreme word usage to detect fake reviews. For both private and business travel, they also investigated whether there is a difference between the number of fake reviews on open and closed platforms. As you probably already know, on closed platforms like Expedia.com and Hotels.com, only guests of a hotel can post a review, while basically everyone who feels like it can write a review on an open platform like TripAdvisor.com.
How does the Trust Measure work exactly? And how efficient is it? Discover the result here:
Studies show that fake reviews contain much more extreme word usage than real reviews. This applies not only to negative fake reviews, but also to positive ones, for example in order to boost one's own hotel. Writers of such reviews use such terms (subconsciously) to reinforce their words and/or to appear more credible. Which terms are involved? Here you can read the three most important positive and negative expressions:
fantastic - claustrophobic
perfect - deceptive
worth every penny - disgusting
The Trust Measure
The software system of the Trust Measure first checks how much extreme word usage there is in a review. The reasoning is simple: the more extreme the use of words, the greater the chance that the review is fake. The system then gives a score between 0 (completely unreliable) and 1 (completely reliable).
Open vs. closed review platforms
The Trust Measure software makes it possible to compare open and closed review platforms. Here you can see the two most important differences:
1) On open review platforms, more fake reviews are posted.
2) Does a hotel already have a reasonable amount of reviews? Then the urge of a writer to
post fake reviews decreases regardless of the platform.
It is logical that more unreliable reviews appear on open platforms because the writer in question can remain completely anonymous. On closed platforms this is not possible and it is therefore more difficult to post fake reviews.
Fake reviews? That may be (almost) a thing of the past!
The Trust Measure can therefore be used as a tool to detect fake reviews. Unfortunately, the system is not perfect...: It can only detect fake reviews in which extreme words are used. This means that it cannot detect all fake reviews. In combination with other software systems, however, the Trust Measure makes it possible to detect even more and better fake reviews!
Sylvie Hoste – Ugent
Master of Multilingual Communication French, German, Dutch
(at the department of Translation, Interpreting, Communication – UGent)