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Talk:San Francisco/Nob Hill-Russian Hill

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Rudy Colombini And Spam

Can people please help me keep an eye out for spam from this guy. He has already been cited on Wikipedia as a 'persistent spammer'. See a discussion about him on Wikipedia here [1] and [2] This article documents how he has reportedly been trying to pass himself off as a member of the band 'The Divine Comedy' (..and not the obscure Goth band he was in of the same name), advertising his hotels on an encyclopedic website, replacing links to desirable and notable hotels with those of his own etc etc... All articles relating to him on Wikipedia have been deleted due to either his lack of notability as a musician, or as unwanted spam on an encyclopedic website.

There is also a lot of spam on Wikitravel from the same IP address as was used on Wikipedia, 66.47.253.226 - this is almost certainly Rudy himself as this IP resolves to his offices at The Nob Hill Hotel, 835 Hyde Street, San Francisco. You can see a history of Wikitravel edits from this IP address here [3]

network:IP-Network:66.47.253.224/27
network:Org-Name:Pacific Equities
network:Street-Address:835 HYDE
network:City:SAN FRANCISCO
network:State:CA
network:Postal-Code:94109-


HOTELS

Actually, he runs four hotels in total in the San Francisco - the first three of which were advertised on Wikitravel, and all of which get horrible reviews (although saying that the James Court fares ok). He runs them through a company called Pacific Equities West LLC, see [4]

  • Villa SOMA, 1554 Howard Street
  • Nob Hill Hotel, 835 Hyde Street
  • Fitzgerald Hotel Union Square, 620 Post Street
  • James Court Hotel (a.k.a. The Nob Hill Pension), 1353-1355 Bush Street

When you look at the reviews from guests on websites like Tripadvisor it becomes apparent that these hotels have a real problem as they get unusually poor reviews. Almost half of the reviewers give the Nob Hill and the Fitzgerald Hotel just 1 star out of 5. Almost all of those complained about the management trying to scam them in some way like through extra credit card charges. Some guests were charged $500 for allegedly smoking in their rooms, when the guests in question apparently don't even smoke. Others booked the Nob Hill only upon arrival to shipped off to the lesser rated Fitzgerald without rebate or explanation. Still others complained about being double charged on their credit card. There were also many reviews that complained about the Nob Hill, The Fitzgerald and Villa Soma having a bed-bug problem. One of the reviewers of Villa Soma points out that this hotel it is listed on the 'Bed-Bug-Blog', and having checked on the reference on the blog, reportedly this building has had an ongoing problem with bed bugs for years. [5]

As you can see from the contributions history, he has been deleting references to his competitor hotels like the Inter-Continental Mark Hopkins Hotel, The Cartwright Hotel. The Crowne Plaza, Comfort Inn by the Bay, Holiday Inn Select Downtown etc [6] He has also added editorials suggesting that his hotels are among the "fanciest hotels" in San Francisco and comparable with establishments like the Ritz Carlton and The Huntington Hotel [7] - this is simply untrue. In an obvious attempt to make his hotels more visible, he has also been constantly editing an article to ensure that his hotels remain at the top of the list [8] and then listing his hotels under multiple districts in San Francisco. At one point he had the Fitzgerald hotel listed under districts North Beach, Marina, Nob Hill, Civic Center and Union Square - the Nob Hill Hotel and Villa Soma were also listed under multiple districts.

For these reasons I have deleted references to both the Nob Hill and the Fitzgerald Hotels. The Villa Soma references had already been removed.

MUSICAL VENUES

He has also been advertising non-existent musical venues. [9] He has been advertising his property at 1353-1355 Bush street as one of the following:

  • The San Francisco Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • Music City San Francisco
  • Rudy Colombini's Center for the Performing Arts

The Wikitravel postings made it sound like these are three separate and distinct venues, when in fact they are all at the same address and none of them actually exist at all yet. 1353-1355 Bush Street is a hotel called the James Court Hotel, a.k.a. The Nob Hill Pension [10] There are plans to set up a musical venue here but they are stalled, apparently due to objections. This is not going to come to fruition for at least 3-4 years, if at all. That's kind of deceiving for people who see one of these on Wikitravel and then turn up only to find a hotel!

WEB BLOGS

He has also been advertising three online blogs that are supposed to cover the events and happenings in Union Square, Nob Hill and North Beach, but all they really do is advertise his hotels and interests front and center. I am all but certain that the anonymous author of these blogs is Rudy himself. [11]


I have reverted most of his edits to date but please can you help me keep an eye out for future spam relating to the aforementioned Hotels, Venues and Blogs to ensure that they do not re-appear on Wikitravel. Thanks. Asterix 17:08, 26 February 2008 (EST)

I have checked various web reviews sites for the hotels in question, and I endorse Asterix's view of them. -- Colin 18:19, 26 February 2008 (EST)

FRAUDULENT HOTEL REVIEWS

One last quick point, I feel is really important. Just recently, I noticed a very suspicious pattern of reviewing for his hotels, across almost all the prominent Travel Websites that allow the public to post reviews. The suspicious reviews stretched all the way back to 2003. As an example, the most blatantly obvious of these were two reviews of the Nob Hill Hotel that were posted on 'Tripadvisor.com' - both reviews were posted within a week of each other, both had given the hotel a perfect '5 star' rating, and strangely, the Usernames supplied by the two supposed reviewers were identical to that of the manager of the James Court Hotel, and that of the Pacific Equities Finance Manager, both of whom work at Pacific Equities offices on 835 Hyde Street. Convinced of foul play, I contacted a total of six major websites online and reported Rudy Colombini, his management team led by Angelos Kolobotos, on suspicion of fraudulently posing as real guests and reviewing their own hotels in order to manipulate their ranking and popularity.

Afterwards, for legal reasons I guess, these sites would not give me any real feedback other than to thank me for the information, and to say that they had conducted a thorough investigation of the matter, and that any appropriate action had been taken. However, post investigation, I analyzed all six websites and cumulatively for the Nob Hill and the Fitzgerald Hotel alone, they had removed Fifty-Eight '5 Star' reviews - this represented a whopping 30% of the total number of reviews for these two hotels on those sites!! On Tripadvisor, the most popular of these sites, both hotels instantly crashed in their rankings, with the Nob Hill almost rated as the worst hotel in San Francisco at 221/231, and the Fitzgerald 211/231.

I will leave you to draw your own conclusions about all of this, but for all of the above reasons I don't think any of these hotels should be advertised on Wikitravel. Furthermore, if anyone has a bit of spare time, it's also worth keeping an eye out for any other, even semi-positive reviews, of the aforementioned hotels. If you spot any suspicious ones, now and in the future - Report Them!! Thanks again, and apologies about the length of this. Asterix 13:20, 8 March 2008 (EST)

To Asterix: The content you are maintaining on this page is incorrect, outdated, and libelous and violates the Community Policies of WikiTravel. If you persist in posting this material to this page, Rudy will be forced to report you. —The preceding comment was added by Purplestripedone (talkcontribs)

VFD discussion

  • Delete. This article is 4+ years out of date and does not include any relevant travel information. (There is a mention of a bad charge and bedbugs, but the links are broken so there is no evidence of these claims. Even so, this article is still 4 years old!) It appears to be a personal attack on the previous owner of 4 hotels. Three of those hotels were sold since this article was written, the 4th was refurbished and renamed. Attempts to update anything were reverted, and once again, this is a travel site and the article is about a PERSON. Completely irrelevant. -- Purplestripedone 16:32, 22 February 2012 (EST)
  • Speedy keep. Talk page discussions are only deleted in cases of vandalism, touting or hate speech; the referenced discussion is none of those. See Wikitravel:Using talk pages#Etiquette. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:23, 22 February 2012 (EST)
  • Archive. Talk page dscussions should be kept more-or-less forever as part of the wiki record. On the other hand, this is a personal attack and apparently outdated, there's no need to keep it visible. Pashley 00:40, 23 February 2012 (EST)
  • Speedy keep and Archive. Let me just point out that by "Speedy keep" I mean the talk page itself shouldn't be deleted - that's just silly. As for the content of the page, I agree with Pashley that it should be archived as it seems to be outdated at this point. That said, I don't see this as an unwarranted personal attack - Asterix deleted these hotel listings from Wikitravel and, being a new user who had not yet gained trust, gave a justification for doing so. Granted, Asterix may have...let's say, gone beyond the call of duty in this case, but at its most basic this (offering justification for deleting listings) is what we want new users to do. While the information itself is outdated and we don't need it so visible now, I don't think we should point to this as an example of bad behavior. EDIT: Given the information that D. Guillaime posted below, I change my mind about this information being obsolete. PerryPlanet Talk 12:57, 23 February 2012 (EST)
  • PerryPlanet, doesn't the VFD box need to stay on the page for 14 days? Why was it deleted? Also,I still fail to see how any of the info on this talk page relates to the goals of the Wiki site. It's about a person, not a place. 71.229.101.13 13:48, 23 February 2012 (EST)
I do apologize for removing the VFD box on sight; I thought someone had made a mistake in posting it there. However, talk pages are not to be deleted. You can question whether the content in the talk page is appropriate, but the talk page itself needs to remain as a place where users can discuss the article. PerryPlanet Talk 15:58, 23 February 2012 (EST)
  • Speedy keep, as per talk page policy. I wouldn't consider it outdated, either; there have been ongoing attempts to overwrite it over the intervening years, both with advertising from the above anonymous IP just a few days ago [12], or simply trying to replace it entirely with a URL to one of the Colombini (planned?) properties [13]. It appears to remain a relevant caution for article maintenance. — D. Guillaime 15:24, 23 February 2012 (EST)

Speedy kept. There is no deletion rationale provided here, and our policy is clear on when discussions should or should not be deleted. This seems a borderline abuse of the vfd process, and doesn't need two weeks. --Peter Talk 21:24, 25 February 2012 (EST)

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