Matthew Steeples suggests TripAdvisor needs to reform its ways
I’ve written about the ‘Trippies’ (those who write reviews on TripAdvisor) before and just like the ‘Groupies’ (voucher loving Groupon users), I’ve had direct experience of their type. They’re an accursed nuisance.
In the main, ‘Trippies’ and ‘Groupies’ can be surmised as the sort that visit restaurants and bars and then take to the Internet to whinge about everything from starters to side dishes. These people don’t order wine, they don’t drink coffee and they don’t tip. Instead, these Little Hitler’s love marker pens and tap water and best of all – and what they’re best at – is writing rogue reviews. As the Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne once said, what’s worse are the founders of TripAdvisor themselves:
“They have tried to bully me, they have sent threatening letters and emails, they have urged me to shut up, but they won’t speak to me directly… TripAdvisor is a despicable and cowardly organisation”.
News, therefore, that a Glasgow pub owner has had to plead with TripAdvisor to remove his venue from TripAdvisor’s restaurant listings speaks volumes and once again shows the flaws of this ridiculous website.
Many would surely argue that publican Frank Spence should have been delighted to learnt that his pub, The Pot Still, was sixth out of 1,136 restaurants in Glasgow. He was not as all it has done is cause him problems as diners come expecting “a Gordon Ramsay experience” when what he actually offers is “soup and a pie” and a “dessert menu measured in drams” [the pub has 566 whiskies on its menu].
In an email to TripAdvisor, Spence pointed out that The Pot Still being listed as a “restaurant” was:
“Unfairly skewing the results for the other fantastic and proper restaurants in Glasgow, who all deserve to be one place higher up than we are allowing them to be”.
Mr Spence is a wise and honest man and we most definitely must all raise a dram to him. TripAdvisor, on the other hand, should just TripOut.
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I have never used TripAdvisor for restaurant recommendations, however I find it to be an excellent resource for researching destinations and accommodation for holidays abroad. The breadth, depth and timeliness of information available from the site is vastly superior to using guide books to plan foreign trips. The classification issue that Frank raises in the linked story is a good one, although hardly a scathing criticism of the site. He seems quite happy with the customer flow the TripAdvisor reviews are generating and is only concerned that people are sufficiently aware of what will be on offer. If you read the reviews almost everyone focuses on the whisky so it is difficult to imagine a significant number of people are genuinely confused.
Hi Conway, you’d be surprised. Some people look at the ranking and decide. Then they phone to book and seem confused. In much the same way that the Sunday Mail reported on the story, but some people read the headline “Is this boozer really Glasgow’s top restaurant?” and came in for a meal.
You’re entirely right, any publicity is good publicity and I’m happy to have hopefully made some new customers, but I eat in one off the restaurants that used to have the top spot, and have yet to go in to apologise. Which is annoying as the food is fab! One of the other great whisky bars in Glasgow is The Bon Accord and they’re stuck in the ‘nightlife’ section, where they’re number one up against the King’s Theatre and the Garage nightclub!
And then we have the downside. We dropped to sixth a week after the Sunday Mail story ran, with no apparent reason, bar the possibility that Tripadvisor ‘punished’ us for some transgression. When you don’t reveal the algorithms that decide the rankings, anything can be explained away… The possibility is that Tripadvisor is in too dominant a positon to be allowed to remain so secretive as to how rankings are decided. A fair an level playing field is desirable.