Review Skeptic reviews hotel reviews

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Online hotel reviews are oftentimes fake. How do you tell? Review Skeptic claims to detect bullshit hotel reviews based upon research from Cornell University into the language of fakery.

It’s been around for years, as this 2011 article in the New York Times attests.

Determining the number of fake reviews on the Web is difficult. But it is enough of a problem to attract a team of Cornell researchers, who recently published a paper about creating a computer algorithm for detecting fake reviewers. They were instantly approached by a dozen companies, including Amazon, Hilton, TripAdvisor and several specialist travel sites, all of which have a strong interest in limiting the spread of bogus reviews.

“The whole system falls apart if made-up reviews are given the same weight as honest ones,” said one of the researchers, Myle Ott. Among those seeking out Mr. Ott, a 22-year-old Ph.D. candidate in computer science, after the study was published was Google, which asked for his résumé, he said.

I wonder if it’s still good, with 5 years of bullshit evolution to account for. One thing in its favor: it seems to “know” that top reviewers tend to affect a style imitative of travel writing in an effort to sound credible, and doesn’t trigger on their innocuous but very ad-like use of language.

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