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Fake Listing Reveals TripAdvisor's Wonky Rating System

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Not Oscar's, because Oscar's is not a thing.
Not Oscar's, because Oscar's is not a thing.
Photo: Derrick Coetzee/Flickr

One user of crowd-sourced travel guide TripAdvisor created an over-the-top, fake restaurant listing in Brixham, England to reveal the site's lax fact-checking of its content. The fake listing for Oscar's has since been removed, but according to the Telegraph, the reviews for Oscar's described the restaurant as existing on a fishing vessel that changed location depending on the season, and that "staff in diving gear would swim to catch whichever fish the customer desired as part of the service." Site users who followed fellow TripAdvisors' recommendations — Oscar's was ranked #29 on a list of top restaurants in Brixham — were duped into wandering down a random alley, looking for a "Michelin-starred" restaurant that simply didn't exist.

The prankster says he created the fake restaurant believing that many TripAdvisor reviews are written by rival businesses and are thus unreliable: "Many of these are so blatant, any person doing a short check would see that they are obvious."

· Fake Restaurant Exposes Failings of TripAdvisor [Telegraph]
· Diners Tricked into Visiting Alley After Businessman Posts Spoof [DailyMail]
· All TripAdvisor Coverage on Eater [-E-]