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Management Science and Engineering's Lecture

TOPIC:      Beyond Consumption: Do Social Network Friends Turn You into Reviewers?

SPEAKER:De Liu (Associate Professor, University of Minnesota)

TIME:            12:00, 30June, 2017

PLACE:         Room 1008, Mingde Business Building


User-generated online reviews play a significant role in consumer decision making but many consumers do not take the next step to provide a review. This research examines the “friend effect” in review generation, i.e. the effect of showing social network friends’ reviews on a focal user’s chance of providing a new review on the same item. Using a combination of observational data on Yelp restaurant reviews and a randomized experiment, we demonstrate that friend reviews increase a user’s chance to provide a new review (thus trigger a form of relational herding), despite a natural competition between friends’ and the focal user’s reviews. Interestingly, the new review tends to be higher quality with prior friend reviews than without. Moreover, the friend effect goes beyond piquing users’ interests – it helps turn interested users to reviewers. These findings establish the friend effect as a novel way of nudging users to write more online reviews, and highlight the value of social-networked production of online reviews.


Dr. De Liu is an associate professor of Information and Decision Sciences and 3M fellow in business analytics at Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. He received his PhD from University of Texas at Austin and his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from Tsinghua University. His general research interests lie in combining economic thinking with sociological and psychological perspectives in analyzing and designing mechanisms for digital markets and platforms. His current research deals with economics of Internet auctions & contests, gamification, social media and social commerce, and crowdfunding and Internet finance. His research has appeared in in leading business journals such as MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, Journal of Marketing, and Journal of Market Research. He currently serves as an associate editor for Information Systems Research and Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce. He is the program director for the Master of Science in Business Analytics at Carlson School and the PhD coordinator for Information and Decision Sciences.