Last week, we touched on new features found in the dashboard. So what’s up this week? We’re staying true to ourselves, that’s what. Even before Rentini, LLC, was a business plan in portable document format, a great deal of thought went into our–at that time remote–“review system”.
As you probably know, customer reviews are in the news these days. Phony reviewers have been taking advantage of review systems to author negative reviews against their competition and/or favorable reviews for themselves. Travelers and guests, on the other hand, are often disgruntled when they realize they’ve been duped by inaccurate reviews. Making allegations that the reviews that had led them to book a particular accommodation were faked frequently lead nowhere. The guests then become exacerbated by what they see as the unresponsiveness and bureaucracy of big-business. Representing the “wild west” of user-generated content, reviews on the sites in question can be written by anybody regardless of whether or not they’ve actually experienced the accommodation. Of course, writing a review of a product or service without actually having experienced it is a criminal offense. Yet the openness and anonymity of sites like these have provided fertile grounds for this activity. People violate the law of “falsely representing themselves as a consumer” as often as they violate laws around cross-walks. And these platforms are often unable to verify the veracity of a review.
In the office, we just discussed an article by travel industry expert, Robert K Cole, about what he terms “Fake Review Optimization,” or the manipulation of review ratings and review fraud. Like Mr. Cole, we’ve been mulling over this problem for a very long time as we stay informed of the latest black-hat tricks.
We hope that by only having transaction-based reviews–reviews written by individuals who have used our service to pay and book their rental–we hope that by doing this we can prevent this crime wave from tainting our reviews and affecting our community. We’re in the process of adding other–algorithmic–measures that will alert us of suspicious and fraudulent activity. While no online review system is 100% full-proof, we aim to make it as difficult as possible to cheat the system. Your protection as a consumer is our priority; preventing abuse–our mission.
So now, if you complete a rental transaction via our website, you will be able to write a review. We’ll add a stamp of approval indicating your review has been verified.
Sometimes when completing forms such as profiles or property descriptions it is useful to have a prompt or explanation. At Rentini, we’ve added “hints” to help with tasks such as Listing Your Property and creating your Profile. These hints clarify what a given call to action is as you fill out necessary info on interactive pages. You will find these hints throughout the site in the form of a semi-transparent question-mark icon. By scrolling over the icon, the hint will appear.