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    Making reviews more relevant and useful for our community

    Making reviews more relevant and useful for our community

    Learn about our updated Review Policy and other important product changes.
    ავტორი: Airbnb (Dec 9, 2019)
    12-წუთიანი საკითხავი
    განახლების თარიღი: Mar 5, 2020

    Highlights

    • Our updated Review Policy addresses irrelevant reviews and biased reviews

    • Our support agents can now remove these types of reviews on your behalf

    • Guests and hosts who repeatedly violate the policy by leaving certain kinds of biased reviews may be removed from the platform

      Many of you rely on reviews to grow your business—they highlight your amazing hospitality. They’re also a helpful way to get specific feedback on what you’re doing well as a host and where you can improve. But there are times when you feel like a review may be misleading or irrelevant to future guests, and we know that can be painful both personally and professionally.

      It’s tricky. Guests and hosts need to be able to share what they feel is important about their experience, so we don’t want to limit what people can and can’t say on the platform. However, it’s also essential that reviews reflect a guest’s stay and that they provide useful information to future hosts and guests. As part of our ongoing journey to get this balance right, here are some of the changes we’re making:

      Introducing our updated Review Policy

      With our updated Review Policy—effective December 11, 2019—we’ve addressed two types of reviews that we know can be frustrating: irrelevant reviews and biased reviews. The updated policy clarifies our expectations and ensures our customer support agents are equipped to remove these types of reviews.

      By updating our policy to cover irrelevant and biased reviews, we’re strengthening our commitment to building a community of trust. These review updates build upon our existing Content Policy (which outlines the kind of content that is never allowed on Airbnb) and our new Guest Standards Policy, which will introduce a system for tracking bad guests. Under our updated Review Policy, guests and hosts who repeatedly leave certain kinds of biased reviews may be removed from the platform.

      Let’s look at irrelevant reviews and biased reviews in a little more detail:

      Reviews that are irrelevant
      This policy covers situations where a review contains information that’s irrelevant to you as a host or your listing—and isn’t useful to future guests.

      Here are a few examples:

      • A guest accidentally leaves a review on your profile that was meant for another host
      • A guest never checks into your space (for a documented reason unrelated to you as the host or your listing) and leaves an irrelevant review about their experience. For example, a guest never shows up, due to a canceled flight, but leaves you a review that complains about a dirty couch.

      Under the updated policy, both of those reviews would be removed because they contain only irrelevant info.

      There are also times when a guest comments on issues outside of your control, or unrelated to the service you provided. Those types of reviews may be removed if they only contain irrelevant content that isn’t useful to future guests. Here are a few examples of irrelevant content that could result in the removal of a review:

      • A guest leaves a comment about your appearance
      • A guest leaves you a bad review because they were frustrated by public transit in your city
      • A guest leaves a review about the type of people in your neighborhood

      These comments have nothing to do with your listing or the service you provide as a host and aren’t useful to future guests. So, under our updated Review Policy, our customer support agents would be empowered to remove both the review content and star rating.

      Reviews with biased information

      Our community benefits most when reviews share an unbiased view of the member’s experience. Our updated Review Policy covers the removal of reviews with inappropriate bias—this may include situations where the reviewer is attempting to extort the person being reviewed, has a conflict of interest, or competes with the person being reviewed. Here’s a closer look at three types of biased reviews that will be removed under our updated policy:

      • Extortion: This is when a guest tries to use reviews to get something they want—for example, if they threaten to leave you a bad review unless you give them late checkout. Any attempt to use reviews or review responses to force a person to do something they aren’t obligated to do is a misuse of reviews, and we don’t allow it. People who use Airbnb also aren’t allowed to tie positive reviews to promises of compensation.
      • Conflict of interest: We appreciate how much hard work goes into earning a positive review. As a result, we will not allow hosts to unfairly boost their ratings by accepting fake reservations in exchange for a positive review, using a second account to review their own listing, or providing something of value (like cash or a late checkout) in exchange for positive reviews.
      • Competition: We’ll remove reviews written by hosts of competing listings or experiences where that person (acting as a guest) leaves negative reviews for competitive listings, or where we determine the content is intended to dissuade others from booking those listings or drive business to other listings.

      Guests and hosts who repeatedly violate our updated Review Policy may face consequences, including account suspension and removal from the platform. We’ve also invested in retraining our customer support agents and improving our workflows, so hosts will receive better support in instances when irrelevant or biased reviews happen. As with our new Guest Standards Policy that tracks bad guests, our updated Review Policy includes warnings and education that can lead to suspension or removal of people who repeatedly leave biased reviews. 

      Updating our Review Policy is another important step in our journey of supporting guests and hosts like you who rely on relevant, useful reviews.

      Your top questions, answered

      What kinds of reviews will be removed by this updated Review Policy?
      A healthy review system is one that respects and protects our community’s genuine feedback. For that reason, we take the removal of any review very seriously and only remove reviews that clearly violate Airbnb’s Review Policy. You can read the updated Review Policy in full, but, in short, this means a review is only removed if:

      • The review is in violation of Airbnb’s Content Policy,
      • The review is biased, or
      • The review is irrelevant to the author’s experience on Airbnb

      Guests and hosts who repeatedly violate our updated Review Policy may face consequences, including account suspension and removal from the platform.

      What kind of documentation should I have under the updated Review Policy?
      We can’t emphasize this enough: Always aim to communicate with guests through the Airbnb platform. If conversations happen off-platform, be sure to keep a record of those conversations too. That way, if you ever need to report a review to our agents, they’ll have—at their fingertips—the information they need to make the right decision. That said, even when you don’t have this preferred documentation, we encourage you to report any reviews that violate our Review Policy because we may be able to identify other evidence or patterns of behavior regarding that guest.

      Will all irrelevant review content be removed?
      If Airbnb determines that the review contains no relevant information about a host or guest or listing, the review will be removed. Reviews that contain mostly irrelevant information are also subject to removal, but only where the relevant information does not meaningfully inform community members.

      Where a review contains information that is unrelated to an experience as a host or guest, or is focused on something beyond the control of the person being reviewed, our team will determine the relevance of the review by considering how useful it is to our community of hosts and guests. To do this, we’ll look at two things:

      • Does the review recount the reviewer’s experience and provide their personal perspective?
      • Is the review helpful to other members of the Airbnb community? Does it provide essential information about a host or guest, listing, or experience that would help others make more informed booking decisions?

      What’s the difference between extortionary and retaliatory reviews?
      It’s considered extortion if a guest attempts to use reviews (or review responses) to force a host to do something they aren’t obligated to do. So, for example, if a guest threatens to leave a bad review if you don’t allow them to bring additional guests, that review would be extortionary and would be removed under the updated policy.

      Then there are times when a host may feel that a negative review is made in retaliation. This is when, for example, a host doesn’t allow the guest to bring additional guests, and the guest goes on to leave a review about how inflexible their host was, or even writes a negative review about cleanliness or location. However, without evidence of a threat to leave a negative review, this would not be considered extortionary and would not be removed under the updated policy. If this happens, we encourage hosts to use their public response to politely address the issue.

      Why aren’t you removing all retaliatory reviews?
      While we understand how frustrating it can be when you receive a review that feels retaliatory, we don’t have a crystal ball to tell us what a person’s true motivations are. So, without a documented threat to leave a negative review or other evidence of a biased review, Airbnb won’t intervene. Here’s why:

      • As a marketplace, we often don’t know the truth about what took place, and our review system is a critical feedback mechanism for our hosts and guests. That means we want as many reviews as possible to remain intact—so our community can put them to good use.
      • Most guest reviews contain honest feedback about their experience and useful information for hosts and guests.

      To reiterate, as outlined in our updated Review Policy, Airbnb can—and will—intervene where there’s evidence of a threat, promise of action that’s dependent on the review, or other conflict of interest and/or competition. Additionally, we will continue to intervene when a guest leaves a review that violates our content policies—including discriminatory content or a violent threat.

      For more information, read the updated Review Policy or learn more about how we moderate disputes of our Review Policy in our Help Center.

      How we’re tackling inconsistent reviews

      Sometimes, a negative review is less about the guest’s experience in your space and more about them not understanding how reviews or the platform work—they can even be the result of an honest mistake. Earlier this year, we built a tool to help address these types of reviews by automatically detecting inconsistencies, and then interrupting the flow to give guests a chance to correct them. So, for example, if a guest gives you 4 or 5 stars in every category (cleanliness, accuracy, and so on) but then a 1-, 2-, or 3-star rating overall, a pop-up will ask if they’re sure about their overall rating.

      Similarly, if a guest leaves a low rating for something like location or value—two categories we know can be interpreted differently by guests—a clarifying question will appear.

      • For location, we’ll ask if the location was accurately described in the listing
      • For value, we’ll ask what would’ve made the stay a better value

      These interruptions force guests to think a little more about the rating they’re giving, which they can then go back and correct. As a result, we’re already seeing more consistency between the category scores and overall scores. Improvements like these help ensure that guests’ ratings align with their experience—more accurate ratings are more useful to guests and reward the hard work of hosts.

      There’s still more to come

      Reviews are the backbone of our community—they help hosts grow their businesses, and they help guests gain the confidence they need to make the booking. We have a dedicated team doing lots of thinking around how to make our entire review experience better for hosts and guests. We’ll continue to improve the review system over time—please keep sending us your feedback about improvements that you’d like to see. In the meantime, we’re excited about these changes and hope you are too.

      Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.

      Highlights

      • Our updated Review Policy addresses irrelevant reviews and biased reviews

      • Our support agents can now remove these types of reviews on your behalf

      • Guests and hosts who repeatedly violate the policy by leaving certain kinds of biased reviews may be removed from the platform

        Airbnb
        Dec 9, 2019
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