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Wednesday 8 February 2023

Tripadvisor tripped up by culinary prankster

Do you look to Tripadvisor for advice on where to dine?

In Montreal, you might have been tempted by what was until recently the No.1 ranked restaurant in the city: Le Nouveau Duluth.

Le Nouveaux Duluth garnered some amazing reviews and had the highest Tripadvisor rating of the city’s 3,678 listed eateries.

There was only one problem. It did not actually exist.

Le Nouveaux Duluth was created by a hacker/hoaxer and his friends aiming to underline how unreliable online ratings sites can be.

Readers of Tripadvisor were regaled with comments about the restaurant's proximity to a beach (Montreal is lacking in beaches), valet service, private and buffet dining and live music.

Le Nouveau Duluth had 85 published reviews, all of them giving it five stars, Canadian broadcaster CBC reported.

But anyone heading to its alleged location on the corner of Duluth Avenue and St Denis Street, was left baffled and disappointed.

Oh dear.

“On this occasion, a failure in human moderation practices meant the fake listing remained live on the platform longer than it should have,” Tripadvisor said in a statement. “The listings - including the reviews and photos associated with the listing - are now inactive.”

The fake restaurant was all in the imagination of comedian Charles Deschamps, who is not a fan of online reviews. 

He says he finds them "problematic", as, obviously, are Tripadvisor's algorithms.



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