Fake reviews in HA and Flikpey (Tripadvisor)

In order to receive a review in Airbnb you need to get booked and then that guest will be prompt to leave you a review after he finishes his stay. But in Homeaway and Flipkey there is an alternative in where you can ask a friend to leave you a nice and fake review or you can do it yourself using another user. Doesn’t affect the transparency of the whole system? By reading other listing’s reviews on those sites I’m quite sure that there are many profiles flooded with fake reviews.

I don’t know . I have read some pretty poor reviews on Tripadvisor

In both sites, you can ask someone to write a review in behalf of you no matter if he has stayed there or not. That doesn’t prevent someone to review your place if he really stayed there which should explain the poor reviews you have seen. In that sense it works similar to how Airbnb does.

In Airbnb, to make a review you need to PAY for your stay and after it ends the 14-days review period starts. In Homeaway and Flipkey you can also write a review in someone’s else profile without any prove that you have been staying at his place.

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You can do it with Airbnb too by the way - but it’s a little more like paid advertising.

Ask a friend with an Airbnb account to book your place for 1 night. Offer them a discount. Give the friend back the money they paid and that you receive (plus the Airbnb fees). If I were to do that with my place it would cost me around $16AUD. Well worth it for a new host starting out trying to get a few review on the board so that star ratings show up.

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Yes – I pointed this out in another post – the minimum night charge for Airbnb is US$10/night. Get a friend (preferably, who lives outside your city – the further away, the better) to book a night. Get several friends to do this. Your cost will be 15%, or US$1.50 per review (no one will ever see how much you charged your “fake” guests). It is a good way for newbies to get past the initial review conundrum, but if you’re not a good host, the real reviews will expose you over time. I didn’t have to do this because my first guests were Airbnb hosts and they left one of my best reviews to date. I will always be thankful to them :slight_smile:

No, please, don’t do this. There must be a fraud detection in Airbnb that will hunt people trying to game the review system in this way. If you ask someone of your friends to book your place for just one night with the only purpose of getting a nice review, Airbnb will probably first check if the guests is already socially linked with you somehow, e.g a Facebook friend, he lives in your city, he is not a friend of you but share common friends, etc. If everything seems normal here it will probably inspect the reservation itself. Charging the minimum rate possible for the minimum number of nights (1) will likely be seen as fraud, especially if the later review is a 5-stars one. I wouldn’t try to do this in Airbnb.

One would hope that Airbnb would actually spend the time and money to vet out legitimate reviews, but I see it happening all the time in my city. The dead give-away is that the reviews are from people living in the same city! No, sad to say, it seems that Airbnb neither fully vets the guests nor legitimate reviews …

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There is no fraud detection and with such an enormous organisation with thousands of hosts, it would not be financially viable for them to throw in the man hours to check whether the host and the guest are connected.

But don’t stress about it. It’s not sustainable. You block your place for minimum fee which is also money you don’t earn as you’re paying your friend back. It really just helps a new guest get past the magical 3 number. And I agree with Sandy, if you’re a crap host, the real reviews will soon overwhelm any fake ones.

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I only post this loophole because I figure that if a newbie host is on this forum, they are (hopefully) sincere about their hosting responsibilities. As I said – you can “buy” a few good reviews, but in the end, if you’re not a good (or, hopefully excellent!) host, time will tell via legitimate reviews. It is an obvious flaw in the system. Albeit, the horrible host I had in Italy simply started a new listing, thus erasing all of her previous horrible reviews and had her son post a “new” positive review. Either she will have learned her lesson and become a better host, or subsequent “real” reviews will expose her, once again.

Just don’t do it. Earn respect the proper way. If you are a newbie and want reviews, offer a competitive price. Do 1 night bookings. Maybe even Instant book. But don’t go down the fake review path. If you do and you don’t live up to the supposedly glowing fake review, then you are going to look pretty damn silly.

I do realise that any system can be “worked around”. I am sure you want your guests to have a good nights sleep. Go down the fake review path, and I doubt you will sleep well…

Also, the algorithms that AirBnB use are always being updated. Google does it all the time and many websites that used “grey SEO tactics” were eventually caught out and heavily penalised. Do you really want to run the risk?


Hi @florbone,

It’s nice that you think Airbnb is so diligent, but all signs suggest that nobody would notice and bother. And there are an enormous number of Airbnb rentals, and far more reviews. Way too many for any number of Airbnb staff to check with any throughness.

And the people who can’t run Airbnb can’t even manage to run a simple web site without masses of bugs. What makes you think they can manage to run an accurate fraud detector?

On the other hand, if someone points out a suspicious review, it’s possible they’d take action, though still not very likely, I think.

Just to be clear, the above doesn’t advocate colluding in the creation of fraudulent reviews.

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I recently noticed a review where AirBnB noted that the reviewer was friends with the host on Facebook.

How was this accomplished?