Monday 5 August 2013

Struth! Mythical restaurant tops TripAdvisor

IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that in England a seafood restaurant shot to number 29 placing of 63 restaurants at Brixham in South Devon in just three months, after garnering rave reviews on TripAdvisor including being rated "excellent" by seven out of every eight reviewers.

"Oscar's" put its success down to it being built into a converted fishing trawler, with divers swimming down to catch the freshest local seafoods for diner's plates.

But foodies who went in search of the restaurant's "simply divine French flair cuisine" wrote that they could never find it at its New Quay Lane, Brixham address – only a laneway littered with garbage bins.

And while Oscar's site explained this by pointing out that the restaurant moved around the Devon coast "with tide and season," there was a deeper reason than that: the restaurant simply didn't exist… a businessman had made it up after a friend's hotel had received nothing but negative criticism on TripAdvisor, criticism both men suspected had come from a rival hotelier.

So they created "Oscar's," and wrote all the favourable reports themselves to show how readers of online review sites could be conned – with TripAdvisor itself admitting it was hoaxed.  "We receive 70 reviews a minute covering more than 2.7 million properties world-wide," it wrote when it pulled down the Oscar's entry. "Occasionally a review or business that does not meet TripAdvisor's guidelines may slip through the cracks."

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