Although user-generated content (UGC) is prevalent these days, high-quality UGC is still desired by readers and is crucial for the development of a website. Therefore, how to encourage users to produce high-quality content becomes a critical issue for UGC platforms. Using travel blogs collected from Lvmama.com, a leading online travel agency (OTA) in China, we investigated the effects of money-based incentives on user effort to generate high-quality content and its performance in the long run. The launch of money-based incentives after several years of running of the platform provides an ideal natural experiment setting. We applied the regression discontinuity design, and the results show that both user effort and UGC quality increased after the incentive program was released. However, the UGC quality declined quickly after that. This study concludes by presenting theoretical and managerial implications for both research and practice.
Fang, Bin and Liu, Xianwei, "Do Money-based Incentives Improve User Effort and UGC Quality? Evidence from a Travel Blog Platform" (2018). PACIS 2018 Proceedings. 132.