NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Dina Mayzlin

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August 2012Promotional Reviews: An Empirical Investigation of Online Review Manipulation
with Yaniv Dover, Judith A. Chevalier: w18340
Online reviews could, in principle, greatly improve consumers' ability to evaluate products. However, the authenticity of online user reviews remains a concern; firms have an incentive to manufacture positive reviews for their own products and negative reviews for their rivals. In this paper, we marry the diverse literature on economic subterfuge with the literature on organizational form. We undertake an empirical analysis of promotional reviews, examining both the extent to which fakery occurs and the market conditions that encourage or discourage promotional reviewing activity. Specifically, we examine hotel reviews, exploiting the organizational differences between two travel websites: Expedia.com and TripAdvisor.com. While anyone can post a review on TripAdvisor, a consumer can only p...

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