As user-generated online reviews have recently gained more popularity, online reviews as word-of-mouth communication play a crucial role in affecting the product/service selection of consumers as well as the financial results and new product/service development of, which results in unexpected incentives to generate fake reviews.
Fake online review is considered one of the most serious online deviant behaviors, since fake reviews not only mislead individuals to make misinformed decisions but also reduce the credibility and value of online reviews themselves. In order to contribute to the literature on online deviant behaviors and improve extant fake review detection algorithms, the present study aims to (1) identify the four linguistic (i.e., affective, cognitive, social, and perceptual) cues related to a reviewer’s psychological processes embedded in online reviews for restaurants and examine their relationships with the fake reviews identified on Yelp.com and (2) investigate the question of whether time distance and reviewer’s location are related to the occurrence of fake online reviews.
This study is one of the first attempts to investigate the relationship between psychological cues and fake online reviews as well as the impact of time distance and reviewer location on these reviews in a comprehensive manner.
The results of logistic regression analysis of 43,496 reviews from Yelp.com suggest that affective, social, and perceptual cues are significantly related to fake reviews with the presence of the significant effects of time distance and reviewer location. Further, the results of post-hoc analysis confirm that the effect of photos on fake reviews is limited.
The result of our study can provide practitioners with implications on how to better identify fake reviews in online hospitality and tourism platforms with the linguistic cues proposed in this study on top of fake review detection factors currently in use and ultimately provide more valid and trustworthy user-generated content regarding restaurants and places to visit.
Kyung Young Lee, PhD, MBA
PhD in Management
Department Coordinator of Technology, Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (TIME)
Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University
Professor Lee’s research interests include electronic word of mouth (eWOM), smart applications, smart tourism and corporate use of social media. His work contributes to the academic literature on the impact of eWOM on consumers’ behaviours, the impact of smart applications on organizational performance and the role of smart devices in the tourism industry.