During a recent conversation at VDC, the topic turned to a problem often seen by users of travel and restaurant advisor sites. It is often difficult to determine legitimate user ratings from those that were created by employees or competitors of the venue in question. We believe that Google, Apple, or another industry participant could mitigate this problem by using an M2M architecture solution. Here is how it would work:
The persons who would want to be authenticated reviewers of hospitality venues would register at a cloud-based site. The mobile devices they carry would be linked to their profile. The reviewers would have to opt-in to allow GPS and Wi-Fi location based tracking and logging.If the reviewer wishes to submit a rating for a venue they log into the cloud-based application. The cloud based application verifies that the location data from the reviewer’s mobile device matches the pattern of a legitimate customer. If the verification passes, the rating and commentary are accepted. The identity of the reviewer could be obscured if needed but, if their reviews were found to be questionable, they could be disqualified in the future. It’s not foolproof, but it’s better than what many of these rating sites have today.