The myriad imperfections of TripAdvisor do not go unremarked.
It seems that hardly a week can pass without another scandal about fake reviews. The British Advertising Standards Authority smacked TripAdvisor around last year for its advertising claims. Arthur Frommer hates on it quite regularly. And it doesn’t help, in my view, that it continues to publish dubious lists of the world’s best whatevers.
But none of that matters nearly as much as what TripAdvisor has done for travelers, a boon so big and so meaningful that I think it’s fair to call it historic. TripAdvisor has exposed the bad guys of the hospitality business, the frauds and cheats, the kind of people who have been preying on travelers not for decades or centuries but for millennia. I’m talking about the vicious, greedy restaurateurs and hoteliers who have plagued travelers without regard for their reputations because reputations didn’t matter when there was always a fresh horde of tourists to steal from.