Based on my personal unscientific anecdotal experience, my bad reviews on Tripadvisor tend to get censored very often. Much less so on say Yelp.

Besides my own limited analysis, are there any "scientific" analyses of the matter onTripadvisor, Airbnb, Yelp, Expedia,` etc. ?

In the case of TripAdvisor, I did a little experiment where I made multiple new accounts and wrote reviews--some 1 star and scathing, others 5 stars and fawning. The bad reviews were usually never posted (or posted, then later deleted), while the good ones were always posted (and there is no way I can do anything to delete them afterwards). I invite anyone reading this to run a larger scale and more scientific version of my limited experiment.

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    that's amazing they censor your reviews! do you have an example, i'd like to see it. I now hate T.A. because one can not (easily) delete or edit one's posts – Fattie Aug 17 '14 at 14:23
  • @JoeBlow, that's also something I find horrendously annoying! – MastaBaba Aug 17 '14 at 15:16
  • Right - it sucks. I don't post much on there anymore for that reason :/ Glad to hear a fellow writer has noticed this! cheers – Fattie Aug 17 '14 at 15:20
  • Why not ask a question on webapps.SE asking how to delte a post from TA? Then we'll have something we can always point to and to get google hits. – hippietrail Mar 2 '15 at 2:44

For Yelp, there recently was a lawsuit about them charging businesses for removing bad reviews: Yelp extortion - note that the lawsuit was not about the practice itself, but how it did it (lying about the cost and kept demanding money).

I think you can always learn something from even good reviews (what do they NOT say), but take anything with some common sense and a grain of salt.

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Accounts with only one or two reviews are suspicious, whether their reviews are favorable (sockpuppets of the owners?) or negative (spite? competitors?). A computerized algorithm probably found a large number of negative reviews from multiple users at the same IP address. They may have been deleted without any human intervention, that's such a red flag. (I have worked on such algorithms but not for travel reviews.)

A much more interesting experiment is building up a serious reputation of many reviews. I doubt if any review you make will be questioned in that case.

I should add, I recently wrote Trip Advisor because a mid-range hotel in NYC had a large number of 5-star reviews where that was the user's only review or one of two. Once upon a time, such inquiries to customer service got human response, but no longer.

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In most cases it's not the platform itself that removes your review, but most likely the business that gets a bad review.

If you open a business account on those sites for your guesthouse, restaurant etc. you get a login to update your details, pictures and also comment on customer feedback, or moderate (delete) certain comments.

Apparently trip advisor has issues with fake reviews, where businesses either buy themself good reviews to look better, or they post on competing hotels and claim that their business or staff is terrible and recommend a competing business in the same city somewhere in the review.

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  • I think you have a typo: "... where businesses your either ..." – hippietrail Mar 2 '15 at 2:46
  • I had a hotel in SF handing out discount coupons claimable with a positive TripAdvisor reviews... – chx May 5 '15 at 4:46

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