The Value of Social Dynamics in Online Product Ratings Forums

Moe, Wendy W; Trusov, Michael
June 2011
Journal of Marketing Research (JMR);Jun2011, Vol. 48 Issue 3, p444
Academic Journal
Research has shown that consumer online product ratings reflect both the customers' experience with the product and the influence of others' ratings. In this article, the authors measure the impact of social dynamics in the ratings environment on both subsequent rating behavior and product sales. First, they model the arrival of product ratings and separate the effects of social influences from the underlying (or baseline) ratings behavior. Second, the authors model product sales as a function of posted product ratings while decomposing ratings into a baseline rating, the contribution of social influence, and idiosyncratic error. This enables them to quantify the sales impact of observed social dynamics. The authors consider both the direct effects on sales and the indirect effects that result from the influence of dynamics on future ratings (and thus future sales). The results show that although ratings behavior is significantly influenced by previously posted ratings and can directly improve sales, the effects are relatively short lived once indirect effects are considered.


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