Cheating in Ranking Systems

Lihi Dery, Dror Hermel, Artyom Jelnov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Consider a software application that pays a commission fee to be sold on an on-line platform (e.g., Google Play). The sales depend on the applications’ customer rankings. Therefore, developers have an incentive to dishonestly promote their application’s ranking, e.g., by faking positive customer reviews. The platform detects dishonest behavior (cheating) with some probability, and then decides whether to ban the application. We provide an analysis and find the equilibrium behaviors of both the application (cheat or not) and the platform (setting the commission fee). We provide insights into how the platform’s detection accuracy affects the incentives of the application’s developers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-320
Number of pages18
JournalReview of Industrial Organization
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Manipulation
  • Ranking fraud
  • Ranking systems
  • Ratings


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