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FYI - Travel Sites May Be Manipulating TripAdvisor Ratings When Embedding The Reviews

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 11th, 2019 10:30 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 10, 2008
1039 posts
130 upvotes

FYI - Travel Sites May Be Manipulating TripAdvisor Ratings When Embedding The Reviews

This post is more informational, to make sure people perform due diligence and not assume that what a website site shows is correct. I'm also not sure this is the exact right forum here for this sort of discussion/notice.

I didn't want to call the company out in the subject, but there are at least one or two sites I have seen this happen at recently. But the one I can consistently verify is Trip Central. I love this place and use them for a specific travel agent I've worked with for over 10 years now.

The reason for not placing blame is that I don't know where the change is happening at (TripAdvisor or trip central)

The specific spot, if you happen to look there, is using the embedded TripAdvisor reviews tab.

Pulled From

here:
tab.PNG
Note the 4.5 out of 5 total over 6121 reviews.

TripAdvisor's page is here

Which is .5 lower than what's on the TripCentral page.
ta-top of page.PNG
ta-overview.PNG
If you inspect the element in Chrome on TripCentral's page, by right click and inspect element, you'll get this:
<span class="hotel-img-rate" style="background-img:url('https://www.tripadvisor.com/img/cdsi/im ... 4941-5.svg');"></span>
This points to the following image: Image

The really funky thing is, if you shrink the width of the TripCentral window ... it'll show the mobile rendering and the review is 4 / 5 which matches TripAdvisor. However, this is a different element in the website but points to the same image.

Mobile Rendering with full site element:
ta-mobile image vs full site element.PNG
Mobile Rendering with the element that generates it:
ta-mobile image with element resposible for it.PNG
Note that the mobile/vertical rendering of the site points to the same image element on TripAdvisor.
"https://www.tripadvisor.com/img/cdsi/im ... 4941-5.svg".

The manipulation results in the TripCentral site showing the reviews between .5 and 1 higher than what's on TripAdvisor, with an average deviation of +/-2 reviews on average. This number of reviews could in theory sway the value, but the constant and consistent increases should not happen on a small sample size like that. The changes are only ever an increase ... never a decrease.

To repeat, this was meant to be an informational reminder to perform due diligence when visiting sites.

Edit Note: I'm trying to fix the way inline images look to make this easier to view/read.
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