The Market for Product Reviews

We propose a model of product reviews with honest and fake reviews in order to study the value of information provided on platforms like TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc. In every period, a review is posted which is either honest, i.e., it reveals the reviewer’s true experience with the product/service, or fake, i.e., it is fabricated in order to manipulate the public’s beliefs. We establish that the equilibrium is unique and derive a number of robust and interesting results. While fake agents are able to manipulate the public’s beliefs, aggregation of information takes place as long as some of the reviews are honest.

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