When searching for “Reefview-Apartments, Antigua”…
….one does get, page after page, raving and glowing reviews that would make you believe this place simply can’t be anything but
“Paradise on Earth”!
So? How come? How come my personal experience is so different from what “others” had to say?
At first I thought it had something to do with “Hapiness-Hormones” kicking in, placing the proverbial “rose-colored glasses” on peoples noses and making them blind for the facts.
You can still read what my original thoughts were by going to:
But that was not really satisfying an answer, so I did two things:
First I asked an esteemed friend of mine, Mag.Dr. Karl B., a psychologist and very sought after consultant to quite a few international corporations, for his view on the matter.
Next I started to notice that all these glowing reviews came from the same website: Tripadvisor …..and the more I looked into it, I started to also realize that this conglomerate has literally taken the entire(!) travel-industry hostage …. but that’s a different story you can read up on here: “A Monster called Tripadvisor”
Then I started to read all these “glowing reports” again, but from a different perspective: Not paying so much attention to WHAT was being said, but HOW it has been said! And even so I really am not a native English speaker, even I started to realize that the majority of these “reviews” did sound awfully alike, ….as if the same person had written most of them.
Finally, since I am not an expert on such matters, I went and asked another highly esteemed personality, Prof.Dr. Franz K, a very respected professor for English and linguistics at Vienna University, to give me his opinion on this issue.
Here are their findings:
1.: Reviews actually ARE “Self Fabricated”.
Prof.Dr.K. did examine 60 randomly selected “reviews”, allegedly published for Reefview Apartments and Cottages, Antigua by “fellow travelers” on Tripadvisor.
He concluded that, according of phrases used, the way sentences are structured and other scientific criteria applied, as many as 53 (!) of those most likely have been written by the SAME PERSON!
I think you can figure for yourself what that means.
That is a raving almost 90%! of all of their reviews – and most certainly does explain, why they not only have more reviews than much larger hotels/apartments etc. – but also more and more positive ones, than places that have been in business much longer……
2.: Psychological Effect
Now, Mag.Dr.B did have a look at this strange issue from a different perspective. Obviously the one he is the expert for. Even so undeniably there are some 90% of the praise-reviews self-fabricated, that still leaves some 10% of actual travelers who really did “recommend” Reefview Apartments Antigua DESPITE that they obviously had been staying there and obviously know that the place at least is heavily misrepresented by the owners who also rather shamelessly are lying about it in all their promotional activities – as I clearly have documented at http://reefview-apartments.com/location/
Obviously there are a number of factors working in favor of “the two Reefview Apartments Crooks”:
–2a– The “Happiness-Hormones”; aka: The Brain of People finally arriving at their destination, for a vacation they have looked forward to for usually quite a while, escaping nasty weather at home and diving into the colors and beauty and warmth of wonderful Antigua – simply refuses to allow any facts to reach their brain that could spoil the pleasure they so much are longing for.
The effect of the almost proverbial “rose colored glasses”…..
So far that did match my first thoughts……
–2b– The “Group Effect”; aka: Most – if not all – will have made their decision to stay at the Reefview Apartments during their visit of Antigua, because of the very “glowing reports” of “others” they found at: Tripadvisor! So they actually start to chide themselves to be “narrow minded” or something along these lines, when their brains finally allow the facts to trickle in.
“Everybody says the place is set in simply wonderful lush tropical gardens, so I probably am a snob or something, if I simply can’t see any “lush tropical gardens”! …so, in order not to stick out of the crowd (something very few people dare to do) I will also confirm what all the others are saying….” (etc.)
–2c– The “Good Bye Effect”; aka: Having to leave the place, having to leave truly tropical Antigua for the dreaded trip back into the cold, the every-day life, the problems at home, the treadmill etc., does have the potential to making the very first look back at the vacation seem, as if it had been “the dream-vacation of a lifetime”.
All the negative vibes that had come up – especially if the stay had been for more than a week (because the brain started to give up on its refusal to see ReefviewApartments for the dump it really is) – are being suppressed (also for reason 2d) – AND: because Carole literally is begging departing guests to give her a good review on Tripadvisor!
(or else she just has to write another one herself….)
–2d– The Sweet Memory Effect”: aka: The whole point of spending all that hard earned money to go on a trip, to take that well deserved vacation, is, to return with lots of sweet memories to draw energy from until the next time one can take off to chill and relax and enjoy…. It consequently would be outright stupid(!) to allow all the negative vibes, the dark impressions, the moments when anger had started to form etc. to sort of “creep into your mental luggage” – the one you are taking home with!
So, all in all, from a psychological view-point, all those who actually do write a positive review for Reefview Apartments in Antigua, don’t do so because they really liked what they had found and experienced, or because the would have been oblivious to the fact that this place does misrepresent, not to say lie, in their promotional material, but because they simply have to “protect their own behinds”!
And what about Tripadvisor?
After all they are the ones publishing all these glowing reviews?
There can be little doubt that they do know that most of them simply are fakes.
Just like everybody in the Internet running a website allowing “the input of unknown 3rd parties” – Tripadvisor sure does keep a close eye on the IP-addresses of all those who log into their site.
So, yes: No question, Tripadvisor knows EXACTLY that 90% of all reviews are self-manufactured and written by the same person.
Tripadvisor is making money (and tons of it since they, together with their mother corporation “HomeAway” have taken the travel-community literally “hostage”) off people taking trips! Of people spending money at the places Tripadvisor publishes “reviews” about.
Not much money to be made, if people, travelers, really(!) would start to communicate and warn each other about the pitfalls and hell-holes of this world! Right?!
-1- Tripadvisor actually is not even ashamed of actively asking only for “positive reports” (see their automated mails) consequently communicating: “Don’t bother to write a bad review. We have no use of such!”
-2- Tripadvisor (Homeaway.com) is using their sheer “Internet-Power” by owning a couple of hundred domains and cross-linking, cross-referencing only positive feedback for a place. Thus you will find the same “glowing review” of i.e. Reefview Apartments in Tripadvisor.com, but also on Tripadvisor.co.uk and *.de and *.ch and *.it and *.__ and *.__ etc!
To you, if researching a property like on Google, it would look like “everybody, everywhere” has “nothing but praise for this place! So: Let’s go there!”
…and that’s exactly what had happened to me – but also what eventually did raise my suspicions!
Who’d really compare entries?
Who’d really check and cross-check?
Who’d really question if not all these websites popping up in your search-results, actually do belong to the SAME CORPORATION?!
-3- At the same time they do select some very few “negative reviews” which they do let “slip through” their watertight censorship. Coincidence? Not really! They simply are smart enough to realize that even the most trusting people would grow suspicious if there would “never-ever” have been any guest who had not been at least a little bit “displeased”.
But, Tripadvisor is not only making damn sure that even the complains actually “read nice” and don’t slam the whole and ugly truth into a visitors face, PLUS they make sure that the complaints do retain the impression to be the exception, PLUS they limit the publishing of the complaints to those “sub”-websites of theirs they initially had been published to: Meaning, that you will find even some (quite intense!) negative reviews for ReefviewApartments, Antigua, but it’ll take you quite some “deep-digging” to find those!
The sort of “strange thing” about this is, that Google actually does have Algorithms in place that prevent that trick of posting the same content to a number of different URL’s and only creating the impression of some opinion or content to be “widely spread”.
Usually if you’d post the same content to i.e. 3 different websites, Google would not only ignore 2 out of these 3, but actually them by kicking all 3(!) websites off their search-results.
The fact that this does not happen to Tripadvisor must have something to do with the obvious fact, that Homeaway with all their different “fronts” are one hell of a customer to Google’s Advertising Empire.
Or, in other words: One shark feeding the other…. at our expense of course…………
But actually I’d even be inclined to defend Google on this one:
No matter how successful they are, they still are a fairly young company. ….and it does not matter how big you are, it only is a question of experience and thus of time, to learn one of the most important lessons in business:
“Never lay down with crooks, never-ever sell your soul to thieves and bastards – no matter how much money you are making off them…. because eventually this will also catch up with you and while a good reputation is difficult and hard to build, it is soooo easy to lose without a real chance to ever restoring it.”
If you know someone in the top-management of Google, on a “we-are-friends-basis”, you might want to call your buddy up and tell him about that “secret of doing good business” 🙂
Update March 20th 2016:
I have analyzed one of the listings of “Reefview Apartments, Antigua” on VRBO (same company as Tripadvisor) in depth and it actually quite amazing what amount of incredible lies I have found there!
Go and check out this page we especially dedicated to the Tripadvisor/VRBO (etc., etc., etc.) group of pages and the lies they publish despite them knowing better and differently – in reality making them accessories to the crimes of fraud, misleading and false advertising and even the thefts occurring at Reefview Apartments and Cottages in Antigua and Barbuda….
If you have been victimized by Nick and Kalipso Karoll don’t only sue them! Sue Homeaway! They not only have deeper pockets but do carry the burden that they had proof but suppressed it. They could have prevented you from falling into this trap, from becoming victimized, and they choose to keep you in the dark!
MAKE THEM (Homeaway / Tripadvisor / VRBO etc.) PAY FOR THIS!