This forum is dedicated to connecting hosts with other hosts. Sign up to get the latest updates and news just for AirBnb hosts! Note that we are not affiliated with Airbnb - we are just passionate hosts!
I thought the article explained it pretty well. Three associates booked a whole bunch of reservations across the ~90 listings and then wrote shill reviews for those stays. Some of the actual reviews even indicated they were 3rd-parting bookings. They probably did it at the minimum discounted nightly rate allowed (US$10), which would cost them less than US$2.00 per review and you could get ten 5-star reviews per listing in just ten days. If you timed it right, this would earn you superhost in a couple weeks and give you 3 months to screw over prospective guests. You could also just have the same 3 associates last-minute book every available night to get more shill reviews that keep your ratings high enough to prevent Airbnb’s automated warnings.
We all know that airbnb is lacking resources in both their customer service and trust and safety departments, so you could get away for quite a while, at least until enough guests complain about it.
Yes my research partner on these bogus reviews sent me this article back when it appeared (April).
I discovered this in my city a year before this article appeared. Have informed all the top folks at Airbnb. Of course, nothing happened, and the fake review ring I uncovered (operating in Md., Va., California, Nevada, W. Va., Israel, Central America) is still flying along happily w/ their ring of fake reviewers.
Anyone reading this can look at their local Airbnb investors and look for the pattern I discovered, and this article explains, and @Brian_R170 summarizes well. Find the first three reviews of the listing (they have been shuffled out of order since 2016 to HIDE this pattern, due to Airbnb wanting to be less obvious of its tolerance of this practice). Look to see if the first three reviews are the SAME three people as for all the other listings the investors have launched, OR fellow hosts that received a reciprocal fake review.