The Oracles of Online Reviews

46 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2023 Last revised: 15 Apr 2024

See all articles by Yael Karlinsky-Shichor

Yael Karlinsky-Shichor

Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business

Verena Schoenmueller

ESADE Business School

Date Written: April 15, 2024

Abstract

The marketing literature has largely focused on individual purchase behavior to pre- dict demand while mostly overlooking individual online reviewing patterns, a significant aspect of modern consumer behavior. We help to fill this gap in the literature by iden- tifying a segment of online reviewers who systematically review successful books soon after publication. Using unique data of Amazon book reviews and sales, we create a reviewer score that measures a reviewer’s tendency to review successful books and identify oracle reviewers whose early reviews serve as a signal for various measures of future book success. We find that oracles are selective reviewers who rate the books they read lower than non-oracles do, suggesting that their predictive signal lies in their self-selection to review successful books and not in a taste for popular books. Text analyses reveal that oracles write longer, more analytical, outward-focused, and overall helpful reviews relative to other reviewers, possibly explaining their ability to predict market demand.

Keywords: online reviews, predictive consumers, product success, digital book sales

Suggested Citation

Karlinsky-Shichor, Yael and Schoenmueller, Verena, The Oracles of Online Reviews (April 15, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4321683 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4321683

Yael Karlinsky-Shichor (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business ( email )

360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Verena Schoenmueller

ESADE Business School ( email )

Barcelona
Spain
20136 (Fax)

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