TripAdvisor’s fake No.1 restaurant

When you come to a new city, or want to uncover hidden gems within your own, how many times have you pulled up TripAdvisor to help you find and filter the top venues, attractions and restaurants in your area?

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site. It allows you to read reviews, compare prices and even book accommodation, restaurant sittings and tours. It has around 390 million monthly unique visitors and hosts more than 435 million reviews. These reviews, some of them scathing, some of them praising, often guide where we travel, where we stay and what we eat.

But are we wrong to put our trust in the hands of anonymous strangers? VICE reporter, Oobah Butler believes so.

His introduction to the culinary industry was almost as surprising and dubious as his later rise to star-rated fame. He started out as a writer who wrote fake reviews for restaurants in exchange for small amounts of cash. Over the years, he realised that the well-loved and trusted website, TripAdvisor, was built on almost entirely fake reviews. He described TripAdvisor as “a false reality that everyone took completely seriously. Over the years I just thought the only bit of TripAdvisor that is unfakeable is a restaurant itself. And one day I thought ‘Oh, maybe it is actually fakeable.’”

With an ambitious goal of getting his own backyard to the No.1 rated restaurant on TripAdvisor, Oobah Butler’s journey is one you won’t want to miss.

Do you consult the reviews and ratings on TripAdvisor when you travel? Will you be more suspicious of them after seeing this video?

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Written by Liv Gardiner

Writer and editor with interests in travel, lifestyle, health, wellbeing, astrology and the enivornment.

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