Fact-Checking the Crowds

How to get the most out of hotel-review sites

Crowdsourcing decisions has become second nature. And as consumers become more reliant on the wisdom of the Web before they buy, good reviews can translate directly to dollars. So it's inevitable that some businesses will try to game the system by, say, bashing a competing hotel or even paying for positive reviews.

When it comes to hotels, "the occurrence of fake reviews is probably more common than the industry would like to admit," says Douglas Quinby, an analyst at the travel research company PhoCusWright. There are no firm numbers on fraud, and sorting through the tens of millions of hotel reviews...

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