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The Digitization of Word-of-Mouth: Promise and Challenges of Online Feedback

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  • Dellarocas, Chrysanthos
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    Abstract

    Online feedback mechanisms harness the bi-directional communication capabilities of the Internet in order to engineer large-scale word-of-mouth networks. Best known so far as a technology for building trust and fostering cooperation in online marketplaces, such as eBay, these mechanisms are poised to have a much wider impact on organizations. Their growing popularity has potentially important implications for a wide range of management activities, such as brand building, customer acquisition and retention, product development, and quality assurance. This paper surveys our progress in understanding the new possibilities and challenges that these mechanisms represent. It discusses some important dimensions in which Internet-based feedback mechanisms differ from traditional word-of-mouth networks and surveys the most important issues related to their design, evaluation, and use. It provides an overview of relevant work in game theory and economics on the topic of reputation. It discusses how this body of work is being extended and combined with insights from computer science, management science, sociology, and psychology in order to take into consideration the special properties of online environments. Finally, it identifies opportunities that this new area presents for OR/MS research.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/7346
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management in its series Working papers with number 4296-03.

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    Date of creation: 23 Nov 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:mit:sloanp:7346

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    Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA
    Phone: 617-253-2659
    Web page: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/
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    Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA

    Related research

    Keywords: Online Feedback Mechanisms; Reputation Systems; E-commerce; Internet; Game Theory; Management Science; Operations Research;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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    1. Paul Resnick & Christopher Avery & Richard Zeckhauser, 1999. "The Market for Evaluations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 564-584, June.
    2. Alvin E. Roth, 2002. "The Economist as Engineer: Game Theory, Experimentation, and Computation as Tools for Design Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1341-1378, July.
    3. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
    4. Patrick Bajari & Ali Hortacsu, 2000. "Winner's Curse, Reserve Prices and Endogenous Entry: Empirical Insights from eBay Auctions," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1927, Econometric Society.
    5. Bakos, Yannis & Dellarocas, Chrysanthos, 2003. "Cooperation Without Enforcement? A comparative analysis of litigation and online reputation as quality assurance mechanisms," Working papers 4295-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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