Received this in my Inbox from T.A.
Thought I would share it with those that may not also receive it. Good info.
I am writing to you today to explain how we at TripAdvisor are tackling a challenge facing our industry, and to let you know how you can help.
We are aware of individuals, often masquerading as legitimate companies, who contact business owners in an attempt to solicit money from them. They do so with the false promise that they can manipulate the rankings on TripAdvisor and other online review platforms, either through the submission of positive reviews or the removal of negative reviews. Some companies go so far as to claim to have an official relationship with TripAdvisor.
These groups are known as optimization companies and their practices are wholly contrary to the spirit and terms of our site, are unethical and often against the law. We believe these optimization companies pose a risk to millions of legitimate, honest hospitality businesses around the world. To be absolutely clear, no optimization company is or will ever be affiliated with TripAdvisor, and the practice of submitting any content that is not genuine and from travelers goes against everything we stand for as a company. Our entire Content Integrity Team is dedicated to ensuring that all properties on TripAdvisor compete on a level playing field, driven solely by the services they provide to our travelers.
TripAdvisor will take the strongest action possible against these firms, as well as any property attempting to engage with these companies to distort the content available on TripAdvisor. It is common that owners have reported that once they engaged with these types of companies, they have been subjected to blackmail, extortion and financial fraud when they have tried to disengage from their services. Once you violate the law, you no longer have the protection of it – and the unscrupulous individuals involved in the optimization industry know it.
The good news is that we're very effective at catching them. Our investigation team uses advanced technology and investigation techniques similar to those used in the banking and finance industries to track the activity of optimization companies all across the globe. TripAdvisor has a zero tolerance for fraud, in fact; so far in 2015 we identified, investigated and shut down more than 30 optimization sites, and will continue to pursue these companies until they are no longer a risk to our community.
We are tireless in our efforts because we know that, like us, most hospitality business owners want a clean system that allows every business to compete fairly. But we also know that with your help, we could be even more effective in shutting-down these businesses. This is where you come in.
If you have been approached or contacted by a company offering to boost your ranking, provide content or reviews to your listing or any activity that would violate TripAdvisor's policies, we would like to hear from you. Any information you provide, no matter how minor, can assist us in our investigations. All reports should be made to our Content Integrity team and will be investigated and kept confidential. With your help, we can continue to improve the service TripAdvisor provides to travelers.
To report an optimization company or contact from such companies, owners may utilize the functionality within the TripAdvisor owner center by selecting "Report Organized Boosting" under the "Manage Your Reviews" tab on your dashboard. Additionally you can report an incident through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When reporting information about contact with optimization companies please include as much information as possible and attach any email or solicitation received to assist our investigation team who will review every report received by our community.
Thank you for your assistance.
TripAdvisor LLC, 400 1st Avenue, Needham, MA 02494, USA
Please do not reply directly to this email. This email was sent from a notification-only address that cannot accept incoming email. If you have questions or need assistance, ask us here. © 2015 TripAdvisor LLC. All rights reserved. TripAdvisor, the TripAdvisor logo and the Owl logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of TripAdvisor LLC in the U.S. and/or other countries.