Wei Chen, Yajun Wang, Dongxiao Yu, and Li Zhang
In this paper, we study incentive mechanisms for retrieving information from networked agents. Following the model in [Kleinberg and Raghavan 2005], the agents are represented as nodes in an infinite tree, which is generated by a random branching process. A query is issued by the root, and each node possesses an answer with an independent probability $p=1/n$. Further, each node in the tree acts strategically to maximize its own payoff. In order to encourage the agents to participate in the information acquisition process, an incentive mechanism is needed to reward agents who provide the information as well as agents who help to facilitate such acquisition.
We focus on designing efficient sybil-proof incentive mechanisms, i.e., which are robust to fake identity attacks. We consider incentive mechanisms which are sybil-proof, i.e., robust to fake identity attacks. We propose a family of mechanisms, called the direct referral (DR) mechanisms, which allocate most reward to the information holder as well as its direct parent (or direct referral). We show that, when designed properly, the direct referral mechanism is sybil-proof and efficient. In particular, we show that we may achieve an expected cost of $O(h^2)$ for propagating the query down $h$ levels for any branching factor $b>1$. This result exponentially improves on previous work when requiring to find an answer with high probability. When the underlying network is a deterministic chain, our mechanism is optimal under some mild assumptions. In addition, due to its simple reward structure, the DR mechanism might have good chance to be adopted in practice.
In Proceedings of ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce