“More than the Quantity: The Value of Editorial Reviews for a UGC Platform” by Ms. Yipu Deng
Ms. Yipu Deng
Ph.D. Candidate in Business Administration (Management Information Systems)
Krannert School of Management
We investigate an editorial review program where a review platform supplements the user reviews with editorial ones written by professional writers. Specifically, we examine whether and how editorial reviews influence subsequent user reviews (reviews written by -non-editor reviewers). The empirical evidence from a quasi-experiment on a leading review platform in Asia based on several econometric and natural language processing techniques shows an overall positive effect of editorial reviews on subsequent user reviews from the platform’s perspective. For restaurants that receive editorial reviews, reviewers not only post more frequently, but also write longer and more neutral feedback. Further analysis of the mechanism reveals that the subsequent reviews of the restaurants that receive editorial reviews become more similar to their editorial reviews regarding the topics, sentiment, and readability, indicating a herding effect as the main driver of the change in the subsequent reviews. The findings suggest that review platforms could use an editorial review program to not only boost the review quantity, but also manage the content’s quality. By supplementing high-quality editorial reviews with user reviews, the platform can improve the overall content quality of user reviews through a herding effect.