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Personally, I don’t hate TripAdvisor because of the bully-boy tactics or rapaciousness with which it is associated. I don’t hate it because it enables reviews of and tickets for cruel animal attractions, or for its climate of blackmail-enabling entitlement. I hate it because it’s shit. At the time of writing, the top restaurants in Glasgow and Manchester are, respectively, a bog-standard chicken tikka masala-punting Indian and a fairly obnoxious American-style joint. Topping the London list is an upscale outfit described by my informed critic counterparts as “ploughing through stubble and foam” and “fine dine like it’s 1999”, followed by an average-looking French restaurant in Battersea with an idiotic portmanteau name. None of these, in my considered and (yep, sorry) expert opinion, is worth crossing the road for, let alone town. Although there is comedy in the fact that an Irish caff in Greenwich is ranked more highly than Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.
I hate the implicit pressure: on small businesses to sign up or pay the price, to put buttons on websites and stickers on doors, the fact that even the inadvertent user is bulldozed into downloading the wretched bloody app. I hate TripAdvisor because the top listing in one Italian town was utterly fictitious. Because it gives awards to hotels like the Tunisian one closed months earlier after 38 holidaymakers were shot dead. Because there is a whole industry dedicated to churning out fake, by-the-yard “reviews”.