So I was going through Trip Advisor and I had to have a good laugh. Now, granted there are some places that do deserve the top-spots on Koh Chang, but there are obviously some places that have used every friend and relative to give a good review and bump up their ratings unfairly. This is called gaming the system (or cheating) and since I have seen so many, I thought whoever is doing this might want some advice, so as to do it better… and really game the system:
Do It Slowly: Interesting that within 30 days of opening all your excellent! 5 Stars! Wonderful!! Reviews come right in. And then nothing for over a year… what happened? Oh, you probably ran out of friends and family… sorry about that. Next time try to get reviews over a few months… it looks better that way.
The Same People, the Same place: Try to get people that don’t write the same way on all three reviews, with the same spelling mistakes and the same key adjectives. Seeing three reviews all with tag line of “Marvellllous! I will come again!”- Jack11, “Marvellllous! I will come again!”- Jim12, and finally “Marvellllous! I will come again!”- john33. It kinda looks fake… sort of. Or conversely Jack, Jim and John all do not how to spell Marvelous without three Ls.
Give Yourself an AVERAGE review. Nothing but five stars?? Not one Very Good, none average? Not one complaint? When you are gaming the system try for a couple of average reviews… it looks more realistic. Just one… just for looks of course…
Try To Be Realistic: Getting your pal to say that they have traveled to three hundred countries and this was “hands down, the best place in the entire planet” just sounds a little bit off, I mean it probably is the best place to eat or stay on Koh Chang, (obviously) but the entire planet? The whole planet? Really?
Don’t Counter A Bad Review With 6 Good Ones: I like these ones, someone gives a bad review on March 8 and between the 9th of March and 11th are 6 Excellent! Reviews, do you think it might look a little suspicious to a reader to see that? You would not be trying to hide the bad review would you? Or at least average the Excellent! reviews out over a couple of months…
Language, language, language: When you are faking an English speaking person from say America make sure they know how to write like an American… or a Brit, or a Canadian. A writer from New York says: “This restaurant beside sea situated on coast so nice is it. Me and friend go all time, so good, me go back” – Easy to spot that the person is not from New york… this is not how any real English writer actually writes, maybe they are mentally deficient, but probably not… and any real reader from these countries will know right away the review is rigged. Be sure to hire people that can speak and write the language well, buy them a beer and I rest assured you get a five star report!
Get a Few Reviews: This is the great red flag of a fake review. So be sure to get your friends to give a few reviews and then review your place. It does not seem too likely that a person ran to an internet cafe the day after eating/staying at your place, opened a Tripadvisor account, wrote a five star review and then never commented on another thing for over a year… When you are gaming the system try to make it look as natural as possible. One review just on your place? They really loved it that much that they will never again review another place out of loyalty and love for your establishment? either you look a little fake or you have a stalker on your hands.
The Real Downside to Reviews:
I was having some fun above, and I hope you can spot the bad reviews through this article. There are some great places on Koh Chang and some of the places do deserve to be at the top, and yes, some actually get nothing but 5 stars as they are always that good! But there is another more insidious side to online reviews that you should be aware of as a business owner and as a reader of them:
Blackmail: Every owner knows that a good review brings in customers and a bad one brings less customers. A few wonderful
criminals customers have caught onto this and have actually blackmailed the owners for discounts etc… as there is no real way for an owner to get these reports removed quickly. And what if something really bad is written? It will be there forever and some truly horrible people are realizing this for their own gain…So do be careful when opening up your business to the Internet. Provide good service, a good deal and the reviews will come – no worries at all! They might even be real…
Bonus Article: How to Cheat on Twitter!
Oh, I was checking out some peoples twitter feeds also. I find it amazing that some people have thousands of followers, including 15 year olds from India, carpet cleaning stores in San Diego, lots of Russian and Ukraine followers writing only in Russian and Ukrainian and lots of Hindi (again all writing in Hindi) followers, It must be amazing getting people to follow you that cannot even read English – what an amazing world we live in.
Or the fact that about 75% of their “followers” all seem to have the phrase “looking for a good man who likes children” …You didn’t like, just go to a twitter “singles area” and follow all the girls (and guys!) did you?? ….So they would… follow you … and hopefully bump up your tweeter stats did you?? That would be like, cheating and not even doing it properly… Hey, I just got an idea for another article!
* I will apologize of course if you are the loneliest bi-sexual on the island and were really just looking for a date… or wanted to wind up with a nice girl from NYC or Texas… I try to be fair at all times!