Duncan Bannatyne, the Dragons' Den panellist, is to spearhead a campaign against the "despicable and cowardly" TripAdvisor website after it refused to remove a review comparing one of his hotels to Fawlty Towers.
The Glaswegian entrepreneur said the internet giant was risking the livelihoods of dozens of hoteliers and restaurateurs thanks to its policy of publishing all reviews it receives.
He said he is considering suing the site over what he claims is a "dishonest" review published about one of his hotels and accused the internet giant of trying to "bully" him into silence using threatening letters.
Mr Bannatyne said the US-based internet website should commit to removing fraudulent or defamatory reviews, rather than its current practice of just offering right of reply.
TripAdvisor claims to be the world's biggest travel site, with 35 million reviews, all written by consumers, on its pages. It is increasingly influential, with many travellers using the site before choosing their holiday destination.
Last year hundreds of hoteliers and restaurateurs last year threatened to bring legal action against the company over claims some of the reviews are defamatory, untrue and occasionally fake.
Mr Bannatyne, 61, said he was willing to spearhead any such effort, adding: "TripAdvisor is a despicable and cowardly organisation, which is bullying small hotel owners all over the United Kingdom.
"As a recent victim of a rogue review, I am well placed to lead the campaign for more protection against the perils of TripAdvisor."
He said he would consider legal action if the company, which last year became the world's largest travel website, continued to refuse to remove what he considers to be untrue, unfair and dishonest reviews.
Mr Bannatyne's row with the website began when a guest submitted a disparaging review comparing his Charlton House spa resort in Somerset to Fawlty Towers, the incompetently-run hotel in the eponymous BBC comedy series.
He strenuously denied the criticisms, describing the reviewer as "dishonest" and suggesting it was a ploy to secure an unwarranted refund.
Mr Bannatyne also claims the website, which receives 40 million hits per month, removed positive four five-star reviews for one of his four hotels after he went public with his criticisms.
"They have tried to bully me, they have sent threatening letters and emails, they have urged me to shut up, but they won't speak to me directly," said the tycoon, who is estimated to be worth £320 million. External source: To read complete article 'Click Here'.