Tag Archives: incentives

Do Incentivized Reviews Poison the Well? Evidence from a Natural Experiment at Amazon.com

Park, Jaecheol, Arslan Aziz, Gene Moo Lee. “Do Incentivized Reviews Poison the Well? Evidence from a Natural Experiment at Amazon.comWorking Paper.

  • Presentations: UBC (2021), KrAIS (2021), WISE (2021), PACIS (2022), SCECR (2022), BU Platform (2022)

The rapid growth in e-commerce has led to a concomitant increase in consumers’ reliance on digital word-of-mouth to inform their choices. As such, there is an increasing incentive for sellers to solicit reviews for their products. Recent studies have examined the direct effect of receiving incentives or introducing incentive policy on review writing behavior. However, since incentivized reviews are often only a small proportion of the overall reviews on a platform, it is important to understand whether their presence on the platform has spillover effects on the unincentivized reviews which are often in the majority. Using the state-of-the-art language model, Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) to identify incentivized reviews, a document embedding method, Doc2Vec to create matched pairs of Amazon and non-Amazon branded products, and a natural experiment caused by a policy change on Amazon.com in October 2016, we conduct a difference-in-differences analysis to identify the spillover effects of banning incentivized reviews on unincentivized reviews. Our results suggest that there are positive spillover effects of the ban on the review sentiment, length, helpfulness, and frequency, suggesting that the policy stimulates more reviews in the short-run and more positive, lengthy, and helpful reviews in the long run. Thus, we find that the presence of incentivized reviews on the platform poisons the well of reviews for unincentivized reviews.

Designing an Incentive-Based Framework for Overlay Routing (Technical Report 2007)

Lee, G. M., Choi, T., and Zhang, Y. (2007). Designing an Incentive-Based Framework for Overlay Routing. UTCS Technical Report, January 2007.

Overlay routing becomes popular as an incremental mechanism to improve internet routing. So far, overlay nodes are always assumed to cooperate with each other. In this paper, we analyze overlay routing in a new viewpoint, in which the overlay nodes act independently to maximize their own payoff. We use a game-theoretic approach to analyze the transit traffic forwarding and realize that overlay nodes are not likely to cooperate with each other in our new scenario.

In order to stimulate the independent overlay nodes to cooperate with each other, we design and propose an incentive-based framework. We introduce three possible systems and evaluate them analytically. Among the candidates, we use simulation to verify the feasibility of our proposed framework generalized punish-and-reward system. The performance gets closer to social optimum as we increase the number of punishments. In addition, the system shows tolerance against impatient players.