SELLER OF FAKE TRIPADVISOR REVIEWS OFF TO JAIL
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.