An owner of a prominent restaurant in Berkhamsted has called on TripAdvisor to start investigating ‘anonymous’ and ‘malicious’ reviews on its website.
Porters, on the High Street, is approaching its second anniversary of moving to the town from Covent Garden, and is ranked third for diners in the town on the review website.
But Richard, the Earl of Bradford - one of Porters owners - is taking malicious reviewers to task if he feels criticism towards his restaurant and staff is unfounded.
And he’s calling on review websites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp and Google to take more interest in rooting out rogue reviewers.
He told the Gazette: “These websites are totally irresponsible. They just allow people to get away with total lies.
“Practically everyone in the industry hates TripAdvisor.
“When we were in Covent Garden we spoke to someone who was in marketing for a rival organisation, and part of their job was to post a bad review for Porters under a different name each month.
“They should not allow these anonymous reviews.
“We contacted one lady who wrote a bad review three times to offer her a free meal and come back, but we heard nothing back.”
Now the Earl, known as Richard Bradford within the industry, wants to see some action being taken from the offending websites.
He said: “We make mistakes, of course we do.
“But we are all heartily fed up with the online review sites, as they are only interested in the traffic that is generated for their sites.
“They give little or no consideration to those of us in the hospitality industry that are victims of totally inaccurate reviews or malicious ones.
“All we are asking is for them to investigate these kind of reviews properly, and for them to provide some proof.”
A TripAdvisor spokesman said: “We work hard behind the scenes to ensure reviews are genuine.
“We’ve taken sophisticated techinques that banks use to detect fraud and adapated them to look for patterns.
“We also have hundreds of specialists making decisions on the integrity of reviews.”