A fictional restaurant made up by a newspaper has topped the rankings on TripAdvisor in Italy.
Italian newspaper Italia a Tavola created ‘La Scaletta' as part of an experiment to reveal alleged flaws in the ranking system of the popular hospitality reviews website.
Fake reviews were listed under the non-existent restaurant and within a month it became the best rated in the town in which it was alleged to exist.
La Scaletta was immediately removed when the newspaper contacted TripAdvisor to reveal its scheme.
In a statement, TripAdvisor said: "As the world's most visited travel site, we are absolutely committed to ensuring that the content on TripAdvisor provides a trusted and useful source of information for those planning a trip anywhere in the world. In this instance, we investigated and removed from the site the listing and reviews that failed to meet our guidelines.
"It is a pretty meaningless experiment to create a fake listing or reviews just to try and catch us out, since that is completely different from the fraud we see and catch on a daily basis. We know that, when fraudsters attempt to manipulate the rankings on our site, they leave behind patterns that we can and do trace.
"We have been tracking reviews for well over a decade, so we can spot what is normal reviewer behaviour and what isn't - that is how we catch fraud."
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