Internet-based peer-to-peer (P2P) content sharing platforms have emerged as a widespread mechanism for sharing electronic content using the Internet. A persistent problem with such platforms is the ex ante assessment of content integrity and quality. In this ongoing study, we address this understudied issue. Using a multi-method research design, we identify using a grounded theory building approach three broad classes of signaling mechanisms associated with the content, contributor, and network that users integratively use to assess the risk-benefit tradeoffs in downloading a given unit of content (e.g., a file). We propose that these signals influence users’ holistic perception of risk-benefit differential, and in turn influence the likelihood of downloading content files. We describe the status of this research-in-progress study. Our primary expected contribution is a middle-range theory of signaling that predicts how signaling mechanisms influence user behavior in such platforms.
Bush, Ashley A. and Tiwana, Amrit, "SIGNALING IN CONTENT SHARING PLATFORMS" (2010). ICIS 2010 Proceedings. 30.