American Express and TripAdvisor Want to Keep Your User Reviews Honest

Oh yeah, she’s a member.

Online reviews are important. Online reviews are completely unreliable. Today is Wednesday.

Here’s one more undeniable fact: American Express has teamed up with TripAdvisor in a noble attempt to keep user reviews as honest as they can possibly be. The project might not be quite as revolutionary as it sounds, though.

Card holders who join the new “club” will be designated as “AmEx card member” on TripAdvisor and encouraged to post their own reviews (which we assume will contain only the most impeccable grammar and delightful verbiage) with a series of credit rewards and virtual coupons. Then, the theory goes, those folks wealthy enough to pay American Express fees will band together to promote their favorite hotels, restaurants and other local establishments to everyone else. Certain businesses that earn the adulation of the AmEx crowd will also be searchable as “American Express Card Member Hotspots.”

Reviews posted by AmEx members will be honest in the sense that these patrons did at least visit the businesses they critiqued, because AmEx cards must be used at a location for subsequent reviews to be designated card member writeups.

Then AmEx will pull a Netflix and send recommendations to members based on their past histories in an “if you like X then you will like Y” format, so upscale restaurants will feel more pressure to accept AmEx. It’s quite clever.

One note: we hope AmEx’s algorithm is a little more reliable than the Netflix system. We can’t for the life of us remember what we watched that told those bots to put What to Expect When You’re Expecting in our top 10. Are you trying to tell us something, Netflix? We know we’re not getting any younger, dammit!