Community Gravity: Measuring Bidirectional Effects by Trust and Rating on Online Social Networks

Presented at: 18th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW2009)

by Yutaka Matsuo, Hikaru Yamamoto


Several attempts have been made to analyze customer behavior on online E-commerce sites. Some studies particularly emphasize the social networks of customers. Users' reviews and ratings of a product exert effects on other consumers' purchasing behavior. Whether a user refers to other users' ratings depends on the trust accorded by a user to the reviewer. On the other hand, the trust that is felt by a user for another user correlates with the similarity of two users' ratings. This bidirectional interaction that involves trust and rating is an important aspect of understanding consumer behavior in online communities because it suggests clustering of similar users and the evolution of strong communities. This paper presents a theoretical model along with analyses of an actual online E-commerce site. We analyzed a large community site in Japan: @cosme. The noteworthy characteristics of @cosme are that users can bookmark their trusted users; in addition, they can post their own ratings of products, which facilitates our analyses of the ratings' bidirectional effects on trust and ratings. We describe an overview of the data in @cosme, analyses of effects from trust to rating and vice versa, and our proposition of a measure of of community gravity, which measures how strongly a user might be attracted to a community. Our study is based on the @cosme dataset in addition to the Epinions dataset. It elucidates important insights and proposes a potentially important measure for mining online social networks.

Keywords: Social Networks and Web 2.0

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