This is harvest time for the thousands of business that depend on tourism.
Restaurants, guesthouses, hotels, bars in holiday resorts, or bed and breakfasts often run by families trying to sustain themselves and a viable community are at the mercy of fashion, the weather, exchange rates and many other known knowns.
However, they now face a new tyranny — the anonymous and occasionally fake online review.
As any restaurateur will confirm, reviews can influence consumers. Social-media platforms are invariably the conduit for these opinions and they have not managed them well. Facebook has been accused of failing to stop the sale of fake reviews through its website despite being confronted by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.
This is something pretty close to blackmail and if allowed by traditional media would mean a day, or several, in court.
It may require huge patience for legislation to resolve this issue but in the meantime, maybe we should not be shy about publishing signed reviews of businesses that impress, the opposite too, to counteract these fake reviews.