Google recently announced a gift to support research being conducted by John Byers, Associate Professor of Computer Science and a Fellow of the Hariri Institute, and his colleagues Joan Feigenbaum of Yale and Giorgos Zervas (BU CS PhD ’11, now
a Simons Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale).
Their research on “Accountability and Choice in Online Consumer Feedback” broadly studies online feedback in the Internet
economy, with a focus on the consumer perceptions of merchants, extracted from large-scale, data-driven analyses of consumers’ reports on their experiences with merchants on review sites, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. The Google gift will enable the team to broaden their investigation of consumer-merchant interactions to investigate how different experiences with sellers may lead consumers to choose different types of social media to describe those experiences, as well as how authenticating reviewers at social media sites affects both the feedback given and the extent to which the reviews are trusted by others.
Prof. Byer’s work on how Groupon deals affect Yelp reviews (hint: it’s not always good!), done in collaboration with Zervas and Michael Mitzenmacher at Harvard, has been covered several times in national media, including recently at NPR.