Camelot Castle's owner claims bad TripAdvisor reviews are part of anti-Scientology campaign

Mail Online, UK/November 1, 2010

Camelot Castle's owner John Mappin has enlisted the help of an 'online reputation management company' after his hotel received a series of bad reviews on TripAdvisor.

The jewellery magnate, who has been a Scientologist for 20 years, claims he is the victim of a smear campaign by opponents of the controversial religion.

Mr Mappin, who counts fellow Scientologists Tom Cruise and John Travolta as his friends, now wants the negative reviews removed from the website.

However, TripAdvisor has hit back at the claims saying that, of the 530 reviews of the Cornish hotel on its website, 195 rate it as 'excellent' compared to 146 who rate it as 'terrible'.

TripAdvisor also claims that some hotel owners are hiring 'reputation laundering' firms to write positive reviews and improve their online profiles.

It now posts alerts next to any hotels it suspects features reviews that have been written by someone with a vested interest in the property.

The line 'Individuals or entities associated with or having an interest in the property may have interfered' now appears next to the such hotels in big red letters.

It follows the news last week that people who post fake hotel reviews on TripAdvisor are to be named and shamed and could face legal action.

Kwikchex, an online reputation management company acting on behalf of 800 hotels and restaurants, plans to publish a list of 'thousands of reviewers' that it suspects of fraudulent and defamatory posts.

Once the list is published, websites that feature user-generated content will have to notify any reviewers on the list. They will be given two weeks to remove their comments and could face legal action if they cannot prove that they visited the hotels or restaurants concerned.

Kwikchex's Chris Emmins said: 'People who leave these anonymous reviews, which can damage the reputation of both businesses and individuals, need to realise that not only can they be sued for libel but they can also face criminal prosecution.'

The company said they would apply for a court application that would force the website publisher to disclose any information they held regarding the

Anyone who can prove that they have asked the website, without success, to remove their comments will be exempt from prosecution.

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