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Review deleted by system. False positive

Spent hour on the phone yesterday to find out why a 10-rating was deleted. Answer was "it´s an automated system, can´t do anything about this".

I have worked all my life in software development (still do some) and I know there is a huge "fake review" problem, not only on booking.com. So companies install "review checkers", either bought or home grown.

The problem is that all these checking algorithms are not 100% fail safe. Not only will they let some fake reviews slip by unnoticed, they sometimes also flag a real review as being fake. This is what happened to us: I have the pictures of us plus the client, the Whatsapp conversations, the invoice with his National Document Number on it and the stupefied client is willing to cooperate to challenge this.

The review is still there (the operator could read it), so it is still in the database. Where do I challenge this false positive, anyone? Not only do I want my review back, but false positives can help fine-tuning the system, so this does not happen again. I am willing to cooperate, no problem.

Anyone who know what to do?

 

5 Replies

8
Aaltje B.

Hi Finca, 

 

I think Barry can help with this. He won't be far away. He is an IT veteran. 

 

Greetings, 

Aaltje B. 

 

1 month ago
1
Finca La Penúl…

I am new to this forum, have no idea who Barry is. How do I contact him? 

PS Leuk te zien dat u ook uit NL komt. Wij ook weg. Al 26 jaar.

1 month ago
8
Barry Reilly

 

Hi Peter & Ines,

 

I was able to find your property listing.  I could not see it in your profile linked..

https://www.booking.com/hotel/ar/finca-la-penultima-b-amp-b.en-gb.html

You have a beautiful property.

 

For as long as I can remember , there has never been a way to do so.

Technically it is indeed 100% possible but BdC have no formal process setup for BdC staff nor partners to do so.

 

One thing I just thought of though is ...

how can someone leave a review /rating if they do not even have a valid reservation?

 

So while I was on your listing I had a look to see where is there an option Leave rating/feedback. Here is what I discovered...

 

As a logged on booking.com user, searched for the property name. scrolling down to near bottom , clicked on

 

This is on right side just above the "Newest Reviews for..." section.

It pops out a pane overlaying the right of the webpage.

 

Here I can see reviews.... then I spotted it..

 

 

I clicked on Read More to review the details.  Then I tried to click on Write Review.

 

 

 

 

Upon trying to write a review I got :

 

 

So at this point I was thinking if I was one of these  fake reviewers how could I do so?

Then the penny dropped and I realised there only one way. One must actually make a oboking and then cancel it.

 

Of course doing so based on the cancellation policy results in full payment of the first night.

 

Now maybe some are prepared to pay that in order to accoomplish their goal.

As to how likely and common that is going to be,... yeah I dont know, I'm skeptical of it.

 

It looks to me BdC do in fact make it difficult for them to do so, and in a reasonable manner.

I did see i was able to book 2 nights and no credit card needed.

 

  • It only takes 2 minutes
  • Confirmation is immediate
  • No booking or credit card fees!
No credit card needed!
 
 
 
THat to me could be a loophole, method for them to book for free, no prepayment and then end up with a booking and pin unmber.
 
What I dont know is does the pin number get issued before or after they pay the Host.
 
I suspect its fully automated in that, yes they do receive the confirmation and pin.
 
 
The more I think it through though, I cant find a route to the goal of leaving a review withoiut staying.
 
 
Conclusion: Without paying finds and the check in day comes around, I cant see how they can leave a review using a booking number and pin.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Kind Regards

 

 

Consider linking your Property link into your partner profile as it helps other partners assist you, especially when starting out .

 

How To Guide :

https://partner.booking.com/en-gb/community/tips-tricks-more/how-why-ad…

 


How To Contact Booking.com:

 

If  urgent,  call the dedicated phone number* found in your extranet Inboxtab. Under Booking.com Messages, Click on Contact us to reveal the phone number.  

For more general info you can contact one of our main lines for help.

 

Got a specific financial question?

Call the dedicated  phone number* found in the ‘Financial Overview’ section of the ‘Finance’ tab in your extranet.

Please note that our finance team is available during business hours, Monday to Friday only.

 

 

 

 

+1
1 month ago
8
Aaltje B.

My hat off, Barry! Thank you. I had no idea. 

1 month ago
1
Finca La Penúl…

Barry, thank you for your elaborate answer, but ....;

1)the review was 100% real, I know that, and I can prove that beyond the shadow of a doubt. I it were fake, I would not pursue this so vigorously, you run the risk of getting blacklisted.

2)so there must be something else. I think it´s "Natural Language Analysis". This because a BdC-operator told me the review was deemed "non-genuine". We know that Amazon uses an external service to check reviews by natural language. Just like somebody who is "cooking the books" has a certain statistical preference for using certain (groups of) numbers, fake reviewers have a statistically relevant preference for using certain (group of ) words, capitalisation, interpunction and grammatical constructs. E.g. Google just opened up its Natural Language API and if you read the docs, that is exactly what it can do. 

3)if you contract such a service, you cannot do this per review, it will saturate network traffic. You run a scheduled batch-job in the wee hours, sending a 1000 rows at a time, they get processed and you receive 1000 answers back: this one is OK, this one too, this one is fake, etc. This behaviour is consistent with what happened. The review was there, then 24 hours later is was deleted 

4)Just as you do not shoot the bookkeeper immediately when you find a statistical anomaly in his numbers, you also should not trust Natural Language Analysis. As I wrote before, it´s AI, which means statistics, and there is always a margin of error; cleverly crafted Reviews slip by unnoticed, AND REAL REVIEWS WHICH, UNLUCKY ENOUGH, USE THE WORDING WHICH IS MODELED AS "FAKE", are wrongfully flagged as such. That´s why I called it a "false positive".

5)Booking, so far, has offered no possibility to challenge, no redress. I can prove it is real, and BdC is wrong. We work very hard for our reviews and I don´t want to be shot by an algorithm, that´s it.

So thanks again for your response, but I know I am right and I will pursue this as far as I can.

 

PS. If I am right, this might happen to anyone of us, anytime: a real review which is marked as fake and deleted. That´s why it is so important to get into contact with BdC, so they can fine-tune their model, preventing further false-positives.

1 month ago