Faked Hotel Reviews: Doubt Web 2.0 - Part II
Critical voices pointed out that the only thing the web really accelerated was globalisation and commercialism. In the end, they were partly right and around 2000, the "dot-com" bubble popped. It left many people to think more carefully about opportunities and risks created by new media.
With the original ideas of "democracy through user involvement" in mind, some web projects opened their gates to their communities of users - they dissolved the borders between publisher and user by allowing everybody to contribute content to a certain website. One of the most successful of these projects is my beloved (no sarcasm here) Wikipedia. Others are blog sites, video platforms and all sorts of social networking sites. The era of Web 2.0 was born only a few years after the 2000 crash.
Today, we don′t live in a World in which truth is no longer established by a critical evaluation of sensory experience - truth is what the majority thinks that is true. Welcome to a World of post-realism! We no longer need evidence, all we need is users that think they know what is right!
Finding a Hotel that Suits You, not the Majority
Now, whilst this is rather cynical, I actually do have serious issues with the spirit of the Web 2.0. Firstly, I don′t like the "majority over diversity" approach - keep in mind that democracy is the dictatorship of majorities. Secondly, finding a sensible agreement requires controversy as you can see in Wikipedia: Articles on controversial topics are often the best and most thoughtfully written ones.
With hotel reviews written by anonymous users, these two problems are particularly serious. Does a hotel that has 100 percent positive feedback have 100 percent happy customers? No, of course not! It just means that the people who wrote the reviews were happy or faked that they were - and if there are only a few reviews at all, it is very easy to improve the ranking by voting it "up".
Similarly, poorly reviewed hotels could be victims of web 2.0-savy competitors. Therefore, I recommend to look for facts rather than opinions: Facilities, location, price - this is more valuable information than a "5 stars" rating by some "sunshine66" or "traveldude07". Similarly, established guide books, publishing companies and websites with non-anonymous writers can provide more reliable advice than the unknown user.
Return to "Fake Hotel Reviews - Part I"
Practicalities & Useful Bits
back to "background"