Text Performance on Vine Stage? The Effect of Incentive on Product Review Text Quality

Information Systems Research, Forthcoming

48 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2022

See all articles by Dandan Qiao

Dandan Qiao

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Huaxia Rui

University of Rochester - Simon Business School

Date Written: May 25, 2022

Abstract

Incentivized reviews have become increasingly prevalent on product review sites such as Amazon. While outright fake reviews are clearly unacceptable and should be removed from review platforms, reviews by incentivized consumers with otherwise authentic product experiences fall into a gray area. On the one hand, many critics and researchers have warned of their harm by pointing out their biased ratings. On the other hand, these reviews might complement organic reviews with review text of higher quality. The current paper studies whether incentivized reviews on Amazon are more coherent and offer richer detail. We use Amazon's platform-incentivized reviews, known as Vine reviews, for our primary sample, and use seller-incentivized reviews for checking robustness. Estimations from a two-way fixed-effect model consistently show that incentivized reviews do compensate for their reduced impartiality through better text quality, measured by discourse coherence and level of relevant detail. This finding is further supported by a randomized experiment using Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk). Hence, current literature findings on the poor quality of text of incentivized reviews, based on review length and lexical complexity only portray an incomplete picture of incentivized reviews. Given that numerical ratings for products via incentivized reviews are likely biased while their text content is of high quality, a natural way to embrace incentivized reviews is to keep their text content, suppress their numerical ratings, and always highlight the label of ``incentivized reviews''.

Keywords: incentivized review, word-of-mouth, discourse coherence, aspect richness

Suggested Citation

Qiao, Dandan and Rui, Huaxia, Text Performance on Vine Stage? The Effect of Incentive on Product Review Text Quality (May 25, 2022). Information Systems Research, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4119578

Dandan Qiao (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

13 computing drive
Singapore, 117591
Singapore

Huaxia Rui

University of Rochester - Simon Business School ( email )

Rochester, NY 14627
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
300
Abstract Views
766
Rank
182,189
PlumX Metrics