7th November 2012 - London, UK
After complaints to an advertising regulator by a self-appointed critic of review sites, Skytrax were requested to change some
review website wording.
said we could not track a review back to its source after this 24 hour authentication period. A strange way to reward openness and an honest commitment to respect our users, but they are the regulator.
The ASA summary about Skytrax review checking and authentication process stated: "the approach of assessing every review individually before accepting it for publication, including subjecting it to manual checks by members
of staff, was a robust one likely to identify the vast majority of non-genuine reviews submitted, and that the additional checks carried out by Skytrax staff would provide a further layer of security on that issue. Skytrax described a rigorous authentication process with a number of
checks and balances which, if consistently implemented, would be likely to successfully identify most false reviews submitted. However, because Skytrax deleted user information soon after receiving a submission, they were not able to provide evidence demonstrating that the reviews
which existed on the
site at the time of the complaint had been subjected to, and passed, that procedure."
Edward Plaisted of Skytrax commented:
"We have never been accused of posting false or defamatory reviews, and all user created content featured on
our websites has been checked and authenticated by our in-house, website staff. With over 1400 airlines and airports featured on our website, not one of these
companies has ever complained about user reviews being false, defamatory or unfair. That in itself underlines some doubtful, self-serving commercial
interests at play when a self-appointed critic of review sites attempts to undermine confidence in a proven and established user forum. Had we received complaints from our users, an airline
or airport, it would of course have been treated with more seriousness."
"We have always stated that reviews we feature are users' opinions, and should be considered as just that - the user opinion and not a declared fact.
The integrity of user reviews on our site is our top priority, and I am pleased the regulator could state that our review authentication and checking processes are robust."
"Some misleading statements were made in the complaint, portraying a lack of proper understanding about the review and ranking process. To then have the
complainant deliberately trying to post false reviews was churlish, illustrating that a self-appointed reviewer seeking to review the reviewers is just silly."
For World Airline Star Ranking we were requested to change the term "Official Quality Star Ranking", but since the ASA ruling date we have subsequently been permitted to
maintain full use of the established, key terminology such as "official Skytrax 5-Star Airline" and related Official Skytrax Star Rating levels for
all Airline and Airport Star Ranking Programmes.
In the UK market, we have changed what is stated about ranking review frequency. "We invited the regulator to attend our in-house Star Ranking meetings and witness
the regular review processes, but they declined to verify matters in such a practical format," said Plaisted.