Chinese travel information and experience sharing site Mafengwo is accused of facilitating fake forms of online orders and reviews, according to a Caixin report. Sources said that Mafengwo has allowed registered merchants to place spurious orders so as to boost their onsite rankings.
Mafengwo said that user reviews of restaurants, hotels, destinations and local activities help travelers schedule their trips more efficiently. The firm generates revenue through ad placements - making it reliant on users clicking on reviews - and earns commissions from hotel bookings and other orders.
A business owner claimed that while fake orders account for around 10% of all orders on competitor site Feizhu, on Mafengwo it’s about 30%. Responding to allegations, a spokesperson for Mafengwo said the company had upgraded its risk-control systems, and it regularly updates protocols for controlling fake traffic.
The company announced in May that it has raised USD 250 million in its series D+ round funding led by Tencent Holdings. Mafengwo expects to list on the Nasdaq in two to three years.
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