TripAdvisor's PR agency Edelman has issued a startling broadside against the Advertising Standards Authority's ruling against its client, dubbing the body 'out of touch'.
Scott Thomson, deputy MD of the agency's UK corporate and financial practice, spoke out as his client launched a strong defence of its procedures following the ruling by the ASA. He suggested that the ASA had been used by firms looking to promote their own interests.
'The ASA has been used as a mechanism by people with clear commercial interests who claim to have the interests of hoteliers at heart,' he said. 'The ASA took this opportunity to flex its muscles and show some teeth.' Thomson added that the ruling set a 'potentially damaging precedent' for tampering with user-generated content.
Thomson described the verifying measures put in place by TripAdvisor as 'best in breed'.
TripAdvisor spokeswoman Emma Shaw said the ASA was 'unrealistic' in its expectation that the site could state with 100 per cent certainty that all reviews were genuine.
'No system, verified or not, could provide this,' she said, adding that the two statements affected by the ruling had been changed and that the ruling 'has no material impact on our business.'