Marketing Letters

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 411–421 | Cite as

The unrealized value of incentivized eWOM recommendations

  • John KimEmail author
  • Gillian Naylor
  • Eugene Sivadas
  • Vijayan Sugumaran


While companies have recognized the perceived economic benefits of encouraging and managing electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), the benefits may be understated. Companies take into account the influence on the audience. But, what about any effects on the person who communicates the eWOM? We explore the impact that incentivized eWOM has on communicator attitude. Using the saying is believing effect as our theoretical foundation, we suggest that providing eWOM induces a change in the communicator’s attitude. By generating and providing a biased recommendation, the communicator will believe the biased recommendation. Furthermore, the communicator is likely to remember the biased recommendation and will use it to update their attitude. We examine how valence of recommendations (negative versus positive) and the number of opportunities to recommend affect the change in attitude. Our findings indicate that providing recommendations changes communicator’s attitude. Implications of the results are discussed.


Incentivized eWOM Managing/manipulating online reviews Saying is believing effect 


  1. Agarwal, A., Xie, B., Vovsha, I., Rambow, O., & Passonneau, R. (2011). Sentiment analysis of twitter data. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Language in Social Media, Portland, Oregon, 30–38.Google Scholar
  2. Basuroy, S., Chatterjee, S., & Ravid, S. A. (2003). How critical are critical reviews? The box office effects of film critics, star power, and budgets. Journal of Marketing, 67(October), 103–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berger, J. (2014). Word-of-mouth and interpersonal communication: a review and directions for future research. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 24(4), 586–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berger, J., & Iyengar, R. (2013). Communication channels and word of mouth: how the medium shapes the message. Journal of Consumer Research, 40(3), 567–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Block, L. G., & Keller, P. A. (1995). When to accentuate the negative: the effects of perceived efficacy and message framing on intentions to perform a health-related behavior. Journal of Marketing Research, 32(2), 192–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chevalier, J. A., & Mayzlin, D. (2006). The effect of word of mouth on sales: online book reviews. Journal of Marketing Research, 48(August), 345–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Deshpande, M., & Sarkar, A. (2010). BI and sentiment analysis. Business Intelligence Journal, 15(2), 41–49.Google Scholar
  8. Eagly, A. H., & Chaiken, S. (1993). The psychology of attitudes. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Chapter 12.Google Scholar
  9. Fournier, S., & Avery, J. (2011). The uninvited brand. Business Horizons, 54(3), 193–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Garnefeld, I., Helm, S., & Eggert, A. (2011). Walk your talk: an experimental investigation of the relationship between word of mouth and communicators’ loyalty. Journal of Service Research, 93(1).Google Scholar
  11. Gillig, P. M., & Greenwald, A. G. (1974). Is it time to lay the sleeper effect to rest? Journal of Persoanlity and Social Psychology, 29, 132–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Herr, P. M., Kardes, F. R., & Kim, J. (1991). Effects of word-of-mouth and product-attribute information on persuasion: an accessibility-diagnosticity perspective. Journal of Consumer Research, 17(March), 454–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Higgins, E. T., & McCann, C. D. (1984). Social encoding and subsequent attitudes, impressions, and memory: “context-driven” and motivational aspects of processing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47(1), 26–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Higgins, E. T., & Rholes, W. S. (1978). “Saying is believing”: effects of message modification on memory and liking for the person described. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 14, 363–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hsu, C.-L., Lin, J. C.-C., & Chiang, H.-S. (2013). The effects of blogger recommendations on customers’ online shopping intentions. Internet Research, 23(1), 69–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kardes, F. R., Cronley, M. L., Pontes, M. C., & Houghton, D. C. (2001). Down the garden path: the role of conditional inference processes in self-persuasion. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 11(3), 159–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Leeper, M. R., Greene, D., & Nisbett, R. E. (1973). Undermining children’s intrinsic interest with extrinsic reward: a test of the “overjustification” hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 28, 129–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mayzlin, D., Dover, Y., & Chevalier, J. (2014). Promotional reviews: an empirical investigation of online review manipulation. American Economic Review, 104(8), 2421–2455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. McCann, C. D., Higgins, E. T., & Fondacaro, R. A. (1991). Primary and recency in communication and self-persuasion: how successive audiences and multiple encodings influence subsequent evaluative judgments. Social Cognition, 9(1), 47–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Merich, N. (2014). Negative thinking vs. positive thinking. Accessed 20 Jan 2015.
  21. Miller, M.J. (2011). P&G’s secret weapon: word-of-mouth marketing. Brand Accessed 27 Jan 2015.
  22. Moore, S. G. (2012). Some things are better left unsaid: how word of mouth influences the storyteller. Journal of Consumer Research, 38(April), 1140–1154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Posavac, S. S., Kardes, F. R., & Brakus, J. J. (2010). Focused induced tunnel vision in managerial judgment and decision making: the peril and the antidote. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 113, 102–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Posavac, S. S., Kardes, F. R., & Mantel, S. P. (1988). Selective hypothesis testing. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 5(2), 197–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Vanous, S., Hook, C., Posavac, S. S., & Kardes, F. R. (2011). Whither the alternatives: determinants and consequences of selective versus comparative judgemental processing. Thinking & Reasoning, 17(4), 367–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sasson, R. (n.d.), The power of negative thinking and how to overcome it. Accessed 20 Jan 2015.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Kim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gillian Naylor
    • 2
  • Eugene Sivadas
    • 3
  • Vijayan Sugumaran
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Business AdministrationOakland UniversityRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Marketing, College of BusinessUniversity of Nevada, Las VegasLas VegasUSA
  3. 3.Milgard School of BusinesUniversity of Washington, TacomaTacomaUSA

Personalised recommendations