Firms' incentives to manufacture biased user reviews impede review usefulness. We examine the differences in reviews for a given hotel between two sites: Expedia.com (only a customer can post a review) and TripAdvisor.com (anyone can post). We argue that the net gains from promotional reviewing are highest for independent hotels with single-unit owners and lowest for branded chain hotels with multiunit owners. We demonstrate that the hotel neighbors of hotels with a high incentive to fake have more negative reviews on TripAdvisor relative to Expedia; hotels with a high incentive to fake have more positive reviews on TripAdvisor relative to Expedia.
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© 2014 by the American Economic Association.