Electronic Markets

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 255–266 | Cite as

Product type and consumers’ perception of online consumer reviews

General Research


Consumers hesitate to buy experience products online because it is hard to get enough information about experience products via the Internet. Online consumer reviews may change that, as they offer consumers indirect experiences about dominant attributes of experience products, transforming them into search products. When consumers are exposed to an online consumer review, it should be noted that there are different kinds of review sources. This study investigates the effects of review source and product type on consumers’ perception of a review. The result of the online experiment suggests that product type can moderate consumers’ perceived credibility of a review from different review sources, and the major findings are: (1) consumers are more influenced by a review for an experience product than for a search product when the review comes from consumer-developed review sites, and (2) a review from an online community is perceived to be the most credible for consumers seeking information about an experience product. The findings provide managerial implications for marketers as to how they can better manage online consumer reviews.


e-Business Online consumer reviews Product type Source effect Online community Blog 

JEL classification

M31 Marketing (see http://www.aeaweb.org/journal/jel_class_system.html) 


  1. Alba, J., Lynch, J., Weitz, B., Janiszewski, C., Lutz, R., Sawyer, A., & Wood, S. (1997). Interactive home shopping: consumer, retailer, and manufacturer incentives to participate in electronic marketplaces. The Journal of Marketing, 61(3), 38–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andreoli, V., & Worchel, S. (1978). Effects of media, communicator, and message position on attitude change. Public Opinion Quarterly, 42(1), 59–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bailey, A. A. (2005). Consumer awareness and use of product review websites. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 6(1), 68–81.Google Scholar
  4. Bakos, J. Y. (1997). Reducing buyer search costs: implications for electronic marketplaces. Management Science, 43(12), 1676–1692.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bei, L. T., Chen, E. Y. I., & Widdows, R. (2004). Consumers’ online information search behavior and the phenomenon of search vs. experience products. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 25(4), 449–467.Google Scholar
  6. Bickart, B., & Schindler, R. M. (2001). Internet forums as influential sources of consumer information. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 15(3), 31–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bone, P. F. (1995). Word-of-mouth effects on short-term and long-term product judgments. Journal of Business Research, 32(3), 213–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown, J., Broderick, A. J., & Lee, N. (2007). Word of mouth communication within online communities: conceptualizing the online social network. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 21(3), 2–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chang, B. H., & Ki, E. J. (2005). Devising a practical model for predicting theatrical movie success: focusing on the experience good property. Journal of Media Economics, 18(4), 247–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chatterjee, P. (2001). Online reviews: do consumers use them?. The Proceedings of ACR2001, 129–134.Google Scholar
  11. Chen, Y., & Xie, J. (2008). Online consumer review: word-of-mouth as a new element of marketing communication mix. Management Science, 54(3), 477–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chen, P. Y., Wu, S. Y., & Yoon, J. (2004). The impact of online recommendations and consumer feedback on sales. International Conference on Information Systems 2004 Proceedings.Google Scholar
  13. Cheong, H. J., & Morrison, M. A. (2008). Consumers’ reliance on product information and recommendations found in UGC. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 8(2), 38–49.Google Scholar
  14. Chevalier, J. A., & Mayzlin, D. (2006). The effect of word of mouth on sales: online book reviews. Journal of Marketing Research, 43(3), 345–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Choi, S. M., & Rifon, N. J. (2002). Antecedents and consequences of Web advertising credibility: a study of consumer response to banner ads. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 3(1), 12–24.Google Scholar
  16. Choi, S. Y., Choi, B., & Lee, H. (2006). Categorizing commercial products for customer oriented online retailing. Computers and Industrial Engineering, 51(1), 90–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Corritore, C. L., Kracher, B., & Wiedenbeck, S. (2003). On-line trust: concepts, evolving themes, a model. International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 58(6), 737–758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Davis, A., & Khazanchi, D. (2008). An empirical study of online word of mouth as a predictor for multi-product category e-commerce sales. Electronic Markets, 18(2), 130–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Deighton, J., & Kornfeld, L. (2009). Interactivity’s unanticipated consequences for marketers and marketing. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 23(1), 4–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dellarocas, C., & Narayan, R. (2006). A statistical measure of a population’s propensity to engage in post-purchase online word-of-mouth. Statistical Science, 21(2), 277–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dellarocas, C., Zhang, X. M., & Awad, N. F. (2007). Exploring the value of online product reviews in forecasting sales: the case of motion pictures. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 21(4), 23–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. DeShields, O. W., Kara, A., & Kaynak, E. (1996). Source effects in purchase decisions: the impacts of physical attractiveness and accent of salesperson. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 13(1), 89–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Duan, W., Gu, B., & Whinston, A. B. (2008). The dynamics of online word-of-mouth and product sales - an empirical investigation of the movie industry. Journal of Retailing, 84(2), 233–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fogg, B. J., & Tseng, H. (1999). The elements of computer credibility (pp. 80–87). ACM: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.Google Scholar
  25. Gallagher, K., Parsons, J., & Foster, K. D. (2001). A tale of two studies: replicating “Advertising effectiveness and content evaluation in print on the Web. Journal of Advertising Research, 41(4), 71–81.Google Scholar
  26. Girard, T., Silverblatt, R., & Korgaonkar, P. (2006). Influence of product class on preference for shopping on the Internet. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 8(1).Google Scholar
  27. Godes, D., & Mayzlin, D. (2009). Firm-created word-of-mouth communication: evidence from a field test. Marketing Science, 28(4), 721–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Goel, L., & Prokopec, S. (2009). If you build it will they come? - an empirical investigation of consumer perceptions and strategy in virtual worlds. Electronic Commerce Research, 9(1–2), 115–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Harkins, S. G., & Petty, R. E. (1987). Information utility and the multiple source effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(2), 260–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Harmon, R. R., & Coney, K. A. (1982). The persuasive effects of source credibility in buy and lease situation. Journal of Marketing Research, 19(2), 255–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Horrigan, J. B. (2008). Online shopping. Pew Internet and American Life Project.Google Scholar
  32. Hu, N., Liu, L., & Zhang, J. J. (2008). Do online reviews affect product sales? the role of reviewer characteristics and temporal effects. Information Technology and Management, 9(3), 201–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Huang, P., Lurie, N. H., & Mitra, S. (2009). Searching for experience on the web: an empirical examination of consumer behavior for search and experience goods. Journal of Marketing, 73(2), 55–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. John, H. (1999). Net Gain: expanding markets through virtual communities. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 13(1), 55–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Johnson, T. J., & Kaye, B. K. (2004). Wag the blog: how reliance on traditional media and the Internet influence credibility perception of weblogs among blog users. Journal of Mass Communication Quarterly, 81(3), 622–642.Google Scholar
  36. Johnson, T. J., & Kaye, B. K. (2009). In blog we trust? deciphering credibility of components of the Internet among politically interested Internet users. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(1), 175–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Johnson, T. J., Kaye, B. K., Bichard, S. L., & Wong, W. J. (2008). Every blog has its day: politically-interested Internet users’ perceptions of blog credibility. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), 100–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kaiser, S., Muller-Seitz, G., Lopes, M. P., & Cunha, M. P. (2007). Weblog-technology as a trigger to elicit passion for knowledge. Organization, 14(3), 391–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kelman, H. C. (1961). Processes of opinion change. Public Opinion Quarterly, 25(1), 57–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. King, M. F., & Balasubramanian, S. K. (1994). The effects of expertise, end goal, and product type on adoption of preference formation strategy. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 22(2), 146–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Klein, L. R. (1998). Evaluating the potential of interactive media through a new lens: search versus experience goods. Journal of Business Research, 41(3), 195–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kozinets, R. V. (2002). The field behind the screen: using netnography for marketing research in online communities. Journal of Marketing Research, 39(1), 61–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kumar, R., Novak, J., Raghavan, P., & Tomkins, A. (2004). Structure and evolution of blogspace. Communications of the ACM, 47(12), 35–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kwak, H., Fox, R. J., & Zinkhan, G. M. (2002). What products can be successfully promoted and sold via the Internet? Journal of Advertising Research, 42(1), 23–38.Google Scholar
  45. Lenhart, A., & Fox, S. (2006). Bloggers: a portrait of the Internet's new storytellers. Pew Internet & American Life Project.Google Scholar
  46. Levin, A. M., Levin, I. P., & Heath, C. E. (2003). Product category dependant consumer preferences for online and offline shopping experience features and their influence on multichannel retail alliances. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, 4(3), 41–62.Google Scholar
  47. Levin, A. M., Levin, I. P., & Weller, J. A. (2005). A multi-attribute analysis of preferences for online and offline shopping: differences across products, consumers, and shopping stages. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, 6(4), 281–290.Google Scholar
  48. Limayem, M., Khalifa, M., & Frini, A. (2000). What makes consumers buy from Internet? a longitudinal study of online shopping. IEEE Transaction on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, 30(4), 421–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lynch, J. G., Jr., & Ariely, D. (2000). Wine online: search costs affect competition on price, quality, and distribution. Marketing Science, 19(1), 83–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lynch, P. D., Kent, R. J., & Srinivasan, S. S. (2001). The global Internet shopper: evidence from shopping tasks in twelve countries. Journal of Advertising, 41(3), 15–23.Google Scholar
  51. Mack, R. W., Blose, J. E., & Pan, B. (2008). Believe it or not: credibility of blogs in tourism. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 14(2), 133–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Marlow, C. (2002). Getting the scoop: social networks for news dissemination. Sunbelt International Social Networks Conference XXII.Google Scholar
  53. Marlow, C. (2004). Audience, structure and authority in the weblog community. International Communication Association Conference.Google Scholar
  54. Mayzlin, D. (2006). Promotional chat on the Internet. Marketing Science, 25(2), 155–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Mitra, K., Reiss, M. C., & Capella, L. M. (1999). An examination of perceived risk, information search and behavioral intentions in search, experience and credence services. Journal of Services Marketing, 13(3), 208–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Moor, A., & Efimova, L. (2004). An argumentation analysis of weblog conversations. Proceedings of 9th International Working Conference on the Language-Action Perspective on Communication Modeling.Google Scholar
  57. Nakayama, M., Sutcliffe, N., & Wan, Y. (2010). Has the web transformed experience goods into search goods? Electronic Markets, 20(3–4), 251–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Nardi, B. A., Schiano, D. J., Gumbrecht, M., & Swartz, L. (2004). Why we blog. Communications of the ACM, 47(12), 41–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Nelson, P. (1970). Information and consumer behavior. Journal of Political Economy, 78(2), 311–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Nelson, P. (1974). Advertising as information. Journal of Political Economy, 82(4), 729–754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. O’reilly, T. (2007). What is Web 2.0: design and patterns and business models for the next generation of software. Communications and Strategies, 65(1), 17–37.Google Scholar
  62. Olshavsky, R. W., & Granbois, D. H. (1979). Consumer decision making - fact of fiction? Journal of Consumer Research, 6(2), 93–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Park, C., & Lee, T. M. (2009). Information direction, website reputation and eWOM effect: a moderating role of product type. Journal of Business Research, 62(1), 61–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Park, D. H., Lee, J. M., & Han, I. G. (2007). The effects of on-line consumer reviews on consumer: the moderating role of involvement. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 11(4), 125–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ratchford, B. T., Lee, M. S., & Talukdar, D. (2003). The impact of the Internet of information search for automobiles. Journal of Marketing Research, 40(2), 192–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Reinstein, D. A., & Snyder, C. M. (2005). The influence of expert reviews on consumer demand for experience goods: a case study of movie critics. The Journal of Industrial Economics, 53(1), 27–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Rheingold, H. (1993). The virtual community: homesteading on the electronic frontier. New York: Harper Perennial.Google Scholar
  68. Rieh, S. Y. (2002). Judgment of information quality and cognitive authority in the Web. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 53(2), 145–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Rieh, S. Y., & Danielson, D. R. (2007). Credibility: a multidisciplinary framework. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 41, 307–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Rowley, J. (1996). Retailing and shopping on the Internet. Internet Research, 6(1), 81–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Senecal, S., & Nantel, J. (2004). The influence of online product recommendations on consumers’ online choices. Journal of Retailing, 80(2), 159–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Sheffet, M. J. (1983). An experimental investigation of the documentation of advertising claims. Journal of Advertising, 12(1), 19–29.Google Scholar
  73. Spaulding, T. J. (2010). How can virtual communities create value for business? Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 9(1), 38–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sternthal, B., Dholakia, R., & Leavitt, C. (1978). The persuasive effects of source: tests of cognitive response. Journal of Consumer Research, 4(4), 252–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Wathen, C. N., & Burkell, J. (2002). Believe it or not: Factors influencing credibility on the Web. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 53(2), 134–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wei, L. (2009). Filter blogs vs. personal journals: understanding the knowledge production gap on the Internet. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14(3), 532–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wilson, E. J., & Sherrell, D. L. (1993). Source effect in communication and persuasion research: a meta-analysis of effect size. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 21(2), 101–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Xia, L., & Bechwati, N. N. (2008). Word of mouse: the role of cognitive personalization in online consumer reviews. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 9(1), 3–13.Google Scholar
  79. Zhou, L., Dai, L., & Zhang, D. (2007). Online shopping acceptance model - a critical survey of consumer factors in online shopping. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, 8(1), 41–62.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Institute of Information Management, University of St. Gallen 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial and Systems EngineeringKAISTDaejeonRepublic of Korea

Personalised recommendations