SELLER OF FAKE TRIPADVISOR RE­VIEWS OFF TO JAIL

Calgary Herald - - WORLD -

The owner of a busi­ness that sold fake pos­i­tive TripAdvisor re­views to ho­tels and restau­rants in Italy has been jailed for nine months in what the travel web­site hailed as a land­mark rul­ing. In one of the first cases of its kind, a court in Lecce in the south­ern re­gion of Puglia ruled that writ­ing bo­gus re­views un­der false iden­ti­ties is a crime.

The un­named busi­ness­man, who ran a web­site called Promo Sa­lento, tried to sell more than 1,000 fic­tional re­views to hun­dreds of restau­rants and ho­tels to boost their rank­ings. He charged $150 for 10 re­views, $250 for 20 and $360 for 30. As well as the jail term, he was or­dered to pay $12,085 in costs and dam­ages. A BBC in­ves­ti­ga­tion this year found that fake on­line re­views were traded openly on the in­ter­net.

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