Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-2014

Publication Title

American Economic Review

Abstract

Firms' incentives to manufacture biased user reviews impede review usefulness. We examine the differences in reviews for a given hotel between two sites: Expedia.com (only a customer can post a review) and TripAdvisor.com (anyone can post). We argue that the net gains from promotional reviewing are highest for independent hotels with single-unit owners and lowest for branded chain hotels with multi-unit owners. We demonstrate that the hotel neighbors of hotels with a high incentive to fake have more negative reviews on TripAdvisor relative to Expedia; hotels with a high incentive to fake have more positive reviews on TripAdvisor relative to Expedia.

DOI

10.1257/aer.104.8.2421

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