- A Russian marketing agency is offering to write fake TripAdvisor reviews on behalf of ailing restaurants.
- The service costs $US570 and aims to dupe FIFA World Cup tourists in Russia this summer.
- The marketing agency confirmed its reviewing scam to Reuters, but stressed no restaurant had yet bought the service because they were “already doing” it themselves.
- You can see all of Business Insider’s World Cup coverage here.
A Russian marketing agency is offering to write fake TripAdvisor reviews on behalf of ailing restaurants in a bid to dupe FIFA World Cup tourists.
The service could appeal to restaurants in all 11 World Cup host cities including Sochi, Moscow, and Saint Petersburg – but it comes at a cost of 35,000 rubles ($US570), according to Reuters.
TripAdvisor has strict algorithms in place that thwart fraudulent posts or reviews, but Bacon Agency – the company behind the reviewing scam – claims it can post its fake reviews without detection.
A restaurant in Yekaterinburg, a city that hosts a number of World Cup group games including Egypt vs. Uruguay on June 15, received a brochure from Bacon Agency and its material was quoted by Reuters.
The material says: “What can you do if no Serbs and no Swedes have ever been to your venue and left a review? You write it yourself!”
It adds: “We are offering to help tourists find you, and to leave their money specifically with you.”
Bacon Agency confirmed the service to Reuters, but stressed that nobody had yet taken up the offer. Bacon Agency owner Roman Baldanov said: “The response we got was: thanks, but we are already doing this ourselves.”
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