Commercialized Content on Social Media Platforms: Exploring the Drivers of the Viewership of Paid Q&A

AbstractPaying to view others’ answers is an emerging business model happening on Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter. Yet, little is known about what drives people to pay to view others’ answers. Based on signaling theory and related literature, we develop a model to predict the viewership of paid-for answers. Using unique panel data of 417 question-to-answers, we find that answer providers’ Weibo level, the number of comments that the paid-for answer receives, as well as the question price positively affect the viewership of the paid-for answer. Our findings contribute to the literature and enlighten content providers and platform organization on how to facilitate individual users to commercialize content for profits.

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