Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Helpful or Unhelpful: A Linear Approach for Ranking Product Reviews

Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Helpful or Unhelpful: A Linear Approach for Ranking Product Reviews

Article excerpt


Most E-commerce web sites and online communities provide interfaces and platforms for consumers to express their opinions about a specific product by writing personal reviews. The fast development of E-commerce has caused such a huge amount of online product reviews to become available to consumers that it is impossible for potential consumers to read through all the reviews and to make a quick purchasing decision. Review readers are asked to vote if a review is "Helpful" or "Unhelpful" and the most positively voted reviews are placed on the top of product review list. However, the accumulation of votes takes time for a review to be fully voted and newly published reviews are always listed at the bottom of the review list. This paper proposes a linear model to predict the helpfulness of online product reviews. Reviews can be quickly ranked and classified by our model and reviews that may help consumers better than others will be retrieved. We compare our model with several machine learning classification algorithms and our experimental results show that our approach effectively classifies online reviews. Also, we provide an evaluation measurement to judge the performance of the helpfulness modeling algorithm and the results show that the helpfulness scores predicted by our approach consistently follow the changing trend of the true helpfulness values.

Keywords: recommender system, online product review, helpfulness, evaluation

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Due to the fast development of Internet and E-commerce, more and more online reviews aggregation web sites, such as etc., have provided consumers with platforms to exchange their opinions about products, services, and merchants. "Online product reviews provided by consumers who previously purchased products have become a major information source for consumers and marketers regarding product quality" [Hu & Zhang 2008]. Park et al. [2007] confirmed that the quality of reviews has a positive effect on product sales and consumers purchase intentions increase with the quantity of product reviews.

On the E-commerce web sites, such as and, consumers are asked to write reviews and rate products or services by a number of stars after they finished a transaction. Most of existing recommendation approaches [Goldberg et al. 1992; Resnick et al. 1994; Sarwar et al. 2001] are merely based on the rating of products. With a star rating scale, users can not get `real semantics' of review statements. Since product reviews represent reviewers' feelings, experiences and opinions on a specific product, they are more useful than product ratings and therefore can better help potential consumers make purchase decisions. Search engines are good tools to assist in looking for information; however, there are too many search results returned from a search engine and not all of them are reviews. For instance, if we input `Cyber-shot Digital Camera Review' in Google, 278,000 web pages will be returned. This is absolutely a too huge result set for consumers to go through. Moreover, in an online community, such as or, more than 1000 reviews for a specific product are submitted by different consumers. Therefore, it is important to rank and classify product reviews so that they can be accessed easily and used effectively by consumers.

Review aggregation web sites provide a function for consumers to vote whether a review is "Helpful" or "Unhelpful". But this progress takes time far before a really helpful review is discovered and the most recent published reviews will always be the least voted ones. Our goal is to develop a model that filters out reviews which are most likely helpful to consumers and that provide more valuable information for consumer's decision making. Such a model can save a great deal of consumers' effort in surfing for reliable and helpful reviews. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.