Review site TripAdvisor has been hoaxed by a fake reviewer with a grudge who created a fictional floating restaurant in Devon, according to a report in The Times this week.
Oscar’s restaurant was apparently located off the shipping village of Brixham and had been given a number of rave reviews enticing a number of would-be diners to seek it out, without luck.
However, the restaurant was the creation of a hoaxer known as Oscar Parrot who has admitted he was motivated to act after a friend’s hotel received critical reviews, it was suspected from a rival hotelier.
Oscars was supposed to have opened on May 1 but the spoof was not discovered and removed until last week after a number of TripAdvisor contributors pointed out it was a fake.
Reputation management company KwikChex, which has regularly raised issues with the authenticity of TripAdvisor reviews, said the situation raised the question of the ability of the site to detect and deal with fraudsters.
A TripAdvisor spokesman told The Times: “Upon investigation, as this property doesn’t meet our listing guidelines, the listing has been removed.
“With over 60 pieces of content coming in every minute, occasionally a review or business that does not meet TripAdvisor’s guidelines may slip through the cracks, and in these rare cases our members can report that material to us, helping to maintain the high quality content of our site.”