Detecting and Characterizing Extremist Reviewer Groups in Online Product Reviews
Online marketplaces often witness opinion spam in the form of reviews. People are often hired to target specific brands for promoting or impeding them by writing highly positive or negative reviews. This often is done collectively in groups. Although some previous studies attempted to identify and analyze such opinion spam groups, little has been explored to spot those groups who target a brand as a whole, instead of just products. In this article, we collected the reviews from the Amazon product review site and manually labeled a set of 923 candidate reviewer groups. The groups are extracted using frequent itemset mining over brand similarities such that users are clustered together if they have mutually reviewed (products of) a lot of brands. We hypothesize that the nature of the reviewer groups is dependent on eight features specific to a (group, brand) pair. We develop a feature-based supervised model to classify candidate groups as extremist entities. We run multiple classifiers for the task of classifying a group based on the reviews written by the users of that group to determine whether the group shows signs of extremity. A three-layer perceptron-based classifier turns out to be the best classifier. We further study behaviors of such groups in detail to understand the dynamics of brand-level opinion fraud better. These behaviors include consistency in ratings, review sentiment, verified purchase, review dates, and helpful votes received on reviews. Surprisingly, we observe that there are a lot of verified reviewers showing extreme sentiment, which, on further investigation, leads to ways to circumvent the existing mechanisms in place to prevent unofficial incentives on Amazon.
Branch: CSE Domain: Data Mining
Developed In: Java