How to Spot Fake Hotel Reviews, and Etihad Prepares to Set Tons of Cash on Fire

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Review Skeptic is kind of old news- the NYT article is from 2011; the algorithm was published in 2013. By this point, most of the services that create fake reviews run their reviews through Review Skeptic before publishing, making the whole effort moot…

  2. And doesn’t the fact that Review Skeptic asks users to mark whether they know the review is real or fake play right into the hands of the fake review writers and hotels? They could run their negative ones through, label them fake; run their good ones through, label them real; run the invented ones through, label them good, and so on. Over the course of time, the system would get worse and worse at distinguishing the fakes. It seems those who resort to such tactics have a lot more invested in making the review system work in their favor than we do in having it work in ours, so that they will always be a step ahead of the game. That doesn’t mean reading reviews is useless, just that they must not be taken at face value.

  3. “Can someone with only limited flight training be talked through it in a simulator?”

    or she could just push the button to manually inflate Otto.

  4. The fact that Emirates offers 254 soups and Etihad is willing to light money on fire pretty much tells you everything you need to know about whether these Middle Eastern airlines are “real” businesses. They’re not, of course. Yet you continue to defend them against the complaints of the US airlines who have to use real money to compete against them. Why? It’s one thing as a customer to take advantage of their largesse (heck, I do), but it’s another thing to be an apologist for them.

    That said, every stupid gov’t always runs out of money sometime. Given the current value of the dollar and the current value of oil, I suspect even the shieks who run the UAE will have to pull back on this nonsense.

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