A news article reports [msnbc.msn.com] that an online reputation company is threatening to sue TripAdvisor on behalf of 700 hoteliers and related businesses alleging that some of the User Generated Comments are malicious and incorrect causing harm to certain companies, accusing TripAdvisor of not being helpful to companies that are unfairly attacked on TripAdvisor's website. They are holding TripAdvisor responsible for their user generated content.
The group is asking:
TripAdvisor to meet three demands: remove erroneous accusations, “in some cases issue an apology” to hotels, and “take steps to ensure that such allegations are not repeated,” said KwikChex co-founder Chris Emmins. “If ethical and media pressure do not bring results, then litigation would be the only course left.”
The article also explores the authenticity of the reviews:
"Take a look at a hotel located in Chennai, India" for "suspicious," positive comments... Among that specific hotel’s 32 TripAdvisor reviews, 30 are scored as "excellent" or "very good."
...Yet about half of those sunny critiques come from people whose profiles indicate they live in Chennai — and who cited the purpose for their stays as business trips. "Why would you stay at a hotel for a business trip if you already live in that city?"
How much responsibility should a community publisher bear for the authenticity of the content generated by the community?
Should a forum owner rein in user comments for fear of being sued?