Peer-to-peer business models rely on interpersonal communication for their success. In this article, we focus on Airbnb - an exemplar of the so-called 'sharing economy'. The full research paper can be found here.


4 months ago

That's a really good question! If anyone's interested... here's the conclusion of the paper:

In sum, the high star ratings alone that are associated with a property on Airbnb are likely not informative enough for users to make an informed consumer choice, making individual reviews a useful tool for users’ decision-making. Yet, not unlike reviews elsewhere on the web, Airbnb users also need to determine what is accurate and most relevant among an abundance of information: scrutinizing reviews should be included the process of determining which property or guest to consider for future transactions.

Reviews onAirbnb may all appear similar on the surface, but they nonetheless hold power as each one increases the amount of unique information available to other users, potentially reducing uncertainty for future hosts and guests. Our study confirms previous research focusing on star ratings: positive ratings and reviews are clearly the norm on Airbnb. No doubt, many positive reviews are the result of consumer experiences which frequently are genuinely pleasant. Nevetheless users should be mindful that there may be a number of other reasons for the strong positive orientation in so many Airbnb reviews: negative aspects of experience may be minimized, or left unmentioned, in reviews, due to factors such as: sociocultural norms of politeness, established trust among host and guest, review and rating reciprocity, lack of anonymity, as well as Airbnb’s possible removal of reviews which violating their guidelines.

Therefore, less-than-positive experiences may be concealed in lukewarm reviews where reviewers avoid overt negativity: for instance, in comments such as “Interesting stay in a nice neighborhood.” As a result, users should be aware that meaning resides not only in the information that is given, but also in the information that is excluded.
4 months ago

I think it's definitely because guests are scared to leave a bad review in case they are also reviewed badly. It's a smart move on Airbnb's behalf and the article is probably right - it forces people to leave more subtle clues

4 months ago

Yes, obviously both parties don't see their own review before they leave a review, I think it's just the knowledge someone else is reviewing you which creates pressure to leave a good review.

4 months ago

The power of airbnb lies in the fact that the reviews can be published only by people who actually stayed in the property. It is very easy to differentiate genuine feedbacks from satisfied guests from cliche reviews such as " Great location, very friendly host, definetely recommended".

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