A recent segment on the Today Show dealt with a growing issue in the competitive tourism industry. Now that most locations are listed on review sites around the web, a new type of scam has emerged in the form of fake reviews. The video shows that some companies have even hired services to post fake reviews in order to boost sales and they are getting away with it, in spite of FTC regulations. Most of us today depend on website reviews to make plans, but this story shows that even some of the photos have been altered to skew the viewers’ perceptions of where they are going. Some restaurant owners have even admitted to faking bad reviews about their competition. In this age of information, how do we distinguish between true and false? What is the industry doing to protect consumers? The American Hotel and Lodging Association says, “Misleading potential guests is not only ethically objectionable, it also minimizes the chance for repeat business, word-of-mouth referrals, and positive online reviews.” Jeff Rossen of NBC News says to focus on the average reviews and ignore the extreme – the most amazing or the worst are more likely to be false. As we’ve seen in the past, reviews from friends via social networking sites have a big impact and are typically very trustworthy. This is because they come from real people who have visited these places under real-life circumstances and can speak practically and truthfully about their experience. This is the type of system we use at Monscierge for our Recommendation Network. Our software focuses on the guest experience and pulls recommendations based on local citizens and real-life reviews, giving guests access to exactly what they want.