A third of TripAdvisor reviews are fake, The Times reports.
Surveys consistently show that recommendations from people we know are the single most powerful influence on the purchase decisions we make, but customer reviews are usually second (a long way ahead of advertising, for example).
It's not news that some businesses try to game the system by paying for (or simply typing) fake reviews either to make themselves look better, or to make rivals look worse. What might be surprising is the sheer scale of the problem the Times reveals, and some of the specific details are interesting, for example we learn that a 5 star review costs $50 from reviewsthatstick.com
It's clearly a problem that we need to find a way to address. Customer reviews meet a very real need, and it's important for all of us that businesses which offer a genuinely good experience get the credit they deserve.