I’ve tried TWICE to post a review for the new dive shop, ScubaLuis, in Cozumel on TripAdvisor, only to have the review denied both times. I’m beginning to wonder why…
Is it because Luis left ScubaTony, the #1 ranked diving operation on TripAdvisor, to open his own business?
Probably not (Tony has sold the company), but as a business owner in Cozumel, I’ve watched a lot of crazy rankings shenanigans on TripAdvisor and have heard from countless other business owners on the island about many, many more, which leaves me scratching my head why my last review, one I feel very strongly about, was denied.
Here is the latest version of the review I tried to leave for Scuba Luis:
“Over the last two weeks I dove again with long-time dive buddies from Chicago, and Texas and we chose to dive with ScubaLuis this time. Luis is our favorite divemaster from a previous scuba diving operation here in Cozumel that has opened his own business. Luis is still the very best divemaster in Cozumel in my opinion but now he’s seriously upped the level of service and attention that he is able to give his clients.
We were a small group of 4 divers on this trip and visited Santa Rosa Wall (one of my favorite dives) a few Palancar dive sites and then Montanas and Paso de Cedral where we had epic dives. Luis showed us big green moray eels, lots of nurse sharks, hawksbill and green sea turtles, monster sized groupers, lobsters, crabs and many schools of other beautiful fish. My favorite encounter was the biggest barracuda ever ever seen in a swim through he took us into at Palancar Bricks!!! Exhilarating for sure! Luis can find the small creatures too! He showed us a seahorse, nudibranchs and a pipehorse.
He is a fantastic underwater guide and really managed to keep our group together during some challenging conditions on one of our dive days. I always felt comfortable and safety is always first priority. Best of all, we had several dives lasting 70 minutes; if anyone ran low on air before the rest of the group, he would just send the diver and his or her buddy up his line to get picked up by the boat while the rest of us continued our dive.
Service above the water was just as fantastic. We had a fresh water “sun shower” to rinse our faces off after the dive and then dry towels. He gave us free ScubaLuis water bottles to take home and keep after our dive days and there was plenty of cold water, fruit, soft drinks, delicious bread, and cookies for the surface interval.
ScubaLuis’ boat is essentially brand new. I found it clean, comfortable, completely shaded and all of the essential safety kit was onboard (oxygen, life vests, marine radio, etc) which can be rare on many dive boats in Cozumel. The boat was easy to get into and out of the water as well.
I live and dive a lot in Cozumel and have been with dozens of operators. ScubaLuis is now only 1 of 2 or 3 operators I will dive with on the island and **highly recommend** to others!”
Here is the same canned response I received from TripAdvisor denying my review – of course there is no way to contact anyone directly to understand what the problem is…
Dear TripAdvisor Member,
Thank you for your review. We have opted not to publish your review as it does not meet our guidelines for traveler reviews. We have listed the guidelines below; you may also view them at:
*Authentic guest reviews of first hand experiences
We accept reviews that detail first-hand experiences with the facilities or services of an establishment. General discussion that does not detail a substantial experience will not be posted. No second-hand information or hearsay (unverified information, rumors or quotations from other sources or the reported opinions/experience of others).
No reviews written by ownership or management; including past employees, volunteers or anyone associated with/related to employees of the property with which they are affiliated. No reviews written by vendors employed by the property. Individuals affiliated with a property may not review other properties of the same type (accommodation, restaurant, or attraction) within the same city or town, or within 10 miles/16 kilometres of that property.
General commentary, bulletins, and questions for other reviewers are best suited to the TripAdvisor Forums (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ForumHome). Forums are discussion boards where members may ask and answer one another’s travel-related questions. Please feel free to submit your message there. Your original review is included below for your convenience.
TripAdvisor Support Team
Location: Cozumel, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, North America
Title: Scuba Diving in Cozumel with ScubaLuis is Like Diving with a Great Friend!
Keep in mind, I’m a Level 5 TripAdvisor Contributor with over 50 REAL reviews.
I don’t favor friends or go after competitors. I am not affiliated with ScubaLuis in any way and this review represents my opinion of diving with Luis on 7 different days over a period of 2 weeks.
- I submitted a first hand review and provided specific substantive details I think are important to others looking for a great business to scuba dive with in Cozumel and even provided photos of me diving with Luis and on ScubaLuis’ boat, Ranger.
- My review contained no second-hand information or hearsay. I even refrained from including ScubaTony in my review even though I think that would be important for anyone looking for Luis.
- I am not a ScubaLuis owner, manager or a vendor. I am a HIGHLY EXPERIENCED diver, scuba instructor and long-time resident of Cozumel who has dove with at least a dozen dive shops and will only recommend those dive shops I believe will provide the very safest and best customer-focused experience. ScubaLuis is one of 3 or 4 dive ops I would recommend to a friend or family member.
I am the owner of the escape room in Cozumel but our businesses are not in the same category, our businesses are not affiliated and my review is clearly not a hatchet job on any business. I’ve written only one 1-star review, ever, for a hotel that seriously deserved it, so I’m not a serial review sniper by any stretch.
I’ve written this post because I want to recommend ScubaLuis to others and TripAdvisor seems to have it’s head up it’s ass.
Diving with ScubaLuis in Cozumel is simply a 5 star experience for the reasons I described.
So what the heck is the problem with my review, TripAdvisor???
I’ve come to seriously suspect foul play when it comes to how they possibly favor companies that either advertise through TripAdvisor’s pay-per-click program or those who partner with their subsidiary, Viator, to directly book clients. I’ve had a first hand experience watching a poor review get held in moderation for weeks simply, I suspect, because the property books it’s hotel rooms through TripAdvisor, who get’s a cut of every transaction. Every other review I wrote that same day was published within a day or two.
Dear Reader, have you had a problem with leaving a TripAdvisor review in which you strongly believe that TripAdvisor is mucking with the rankings due to a particular business interest? I’d like to hear about them. Tell us all about your situation in the comments below.