User Review Portability: Why and How?
17 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2018 Last revised: 2 Jul 2018
Date Written: June 27, 2018
User reviews of products on the e-commerce platforms are a critical determinant of inter-platform competition, as a large number of consumers base their product choice on the related reviews by other users. The network effects between the number of reviews and new users give a sustainable competitive advantage to the incumbent platforms. While the business literature has recognized the commercial value of the user reviews, legal scholarship has paid little heed to level the playing field between incumbents and new e-commerce platforms by exploring the portability of user reviews. This paper bridges this gap. We explore the possibility of porting user reviews through two legal mechanisms—first, traditional Intellectual Property law; second, the new Right to Data Portability (RtDP) as enshrined in the GDPR. After recognizing the limitation of these mechanisms in enabling portability of reviews, we suggest that pure data aggregators, such as Personal Information Management Services (PIMS), are best placed to make user reviews available to multiple platforms.
Keywords: User Reviews, Reputation System, Right to Data Portability, Article 20 of GDPR, Intellectual Property, Personal Information Management Services (PIMS)
JEL Classification: [comma separated]K21, O34, L81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation