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Inside the Engine Room of Digital Platforms: Reviews, Ratings, and Recommendations

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Working paper
Author/s: 
Paul Belleflamme, Martin Peitz
Issue number: 
2018-06
Series: 
AMSE Working Papers
Publisher: 
Aix Marseille School of Economics
Year: 
2018
The rise and success of digital platforms (such as Airbnb, Amazon, Booking, Expedia, Ebay, and Uber) rely, to a large extent, on their ability to address two major issues. First, to effectively facilitate transactions, platforms need to resolve the problem of trust in the implicit or explicit promises made by the counterparties; they post reviews and ratings to pursue this objective. Second, as platforms operate in marketplaces where information is abundant, they may guide their users towards the transactions that these users may have an interest in; recommender systems are meant to play this role. In this article, we elaborate on review, rating, and recommender systems. In particular, we examine how these systems generate network effects on platforms.
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