Writing ‘Paid Reviews’ – Read what this CEO wrote to me …

The word Paid Media is infamous in India.  Content Writing and Story Telling are booming businesses here.  Some good writers are found gullible and caught in the catchments of Blogs and Social media with Ssssshhhh…. kind of messages asking for writing paid reviews.

I have written few reviews for TripAdvisor for few years and they are less than 150 over 10 years or so and have got about 100000 views from readers. Some of them have actually liked them. So when the below mail came to me I was first surprised, so I re-read and understood. I am sharing this for fellow Bloggers and writers – it is a wake up call.


O2 Spa
Dear owner,
I’m writing to update you on a landmark development in our continued fight against review fraud, and to let you know how you can help.
Recently, in one of the first legal cases of its kind, the owner of an illegal business that was selling fake reviews in Italy was sentenced to nine months in prison and fined approximately 8,000 Euros in costs and damages.
Paid review fraud is a violation of the law in many countries, but this is one of the first cases resulting in a criminal conviction. We’re proud to have supported the prosecution of this illegal business by sharing evidence from our in-house fraud team, and through support from our Italian legal counsel.
Protecting our community from fraud is a fundamental part of everything we stand for at TripAdvisor. As a company we’re fully invested, with advanced tracking technology and a dedicated team of investigators working tirelessly to catch paid review companies and keep them from operating on our site.
But we can’t do it alone – and I want to thank you, our business community, for playing such a vital role in our ongoing fight against paid review fraud. You’ve kept your eyes open, you’ve reported suspicious activity – and since 2015, our fraud investigations have stopped the activities of more than 60 paid review companies worldwide with your help.
This is an issue we all face as an industry, and we can do even more together. If you’re contacted by a paid review company, please do not engage with them – instead share their information with our Content Integrity team directly at paidreviews@tripadvisor.com. All reports made will be investigated, and every piece of information, no matter how minor, can help.
In the meantime, you can learn more about the Italian fraud investigation – as well as how we moderate reviews and protect our content – here.
In this fight against paid review fraud, we’re beyond grateful to have partners like you. Thanks again for all of your help – and here’s to more wins like this one!
Kind regards,
Steve Kaufer
CEO, TripAdvisor

End Quote.

You may draw your own conclusions and take precautions if you like.