Reviewer Motivations, Bias, and Credibility in Online Reviews

Reviewer Motivations, Bias, and Credibility in Online Reviews

Jo Mackiewicz (Auburn University, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-863-5.ch020
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Abstract

In the emerging CMC genre of online reviews, lay people, as opposed to professional writers, evaluate products and services, and they receive no pay for their time or effort. This chapter examines possible motivations for writing reviews, particularly efficacy and altruism. In addition, this chapter examines a sample of 640 online reviews to see whether a positive bias existed; indeed, over 48 percent of reviews bestowed the highest rating—5 stars. Finally, the chapter investigates how reviews manifest reviewers’ concern for establishing credibility by examining four reviews’ varying degrees of careful editing: use of low-frequency vocabulary, planned content, prescription-adhering grammar, correct punctuation, and correct spelling. Detailed analysis of the four online reviews—reviews of a recipe, a camcorder, a tour guide service, and a book—according to the extent to which they displayed careful editing, revealed that the reviews displayed spelling and punctuation errors. However, two of the four reviews showed careful

Key Terms in this Chapter

Credibility: Believability; the state of being perceived as worthy of trust.

Positivity Effect: The probability that a person who chooses a product or service and then evaluates or rates it will rate it higher than others in the general population because he/she sought it out in the first place.

Altruism: Unselfish, charitable concern for others; benevolence.

Credibility: Believability; the state of being perceived as worthy of trust.

Low-Frequency Vocabulary: Words that uncommonly occur in a language, such as “apopemptic,” “diaphoretic,” and “rebarbative” in English.

Risk: Perceptions of uncertainty and adverse consequences of engaging in an activity.

Positivity Effect: The probability that a person who chooses a product or service and then evaluates or rates it will rate it higher than others in the general population because he/she sought it out in the first place.

High-Frequency Vocabulary: Words that commonly manifest themselves in a language, such as “are,” “the,” “above” in English.

High-Frequency Vocabulary: Words that commonly manifest themselves in a language, such as “are,” “the,” “above” in English.

Efficacy: Power or capacity to produce a desired result or effect on the world.

Prescriptivism: A view of language that says norms and standards for correct and standard usage can and should be set and followed. The rule against ending a sentence with a preposition is an example.

Altruism: Unselfish, charitable concern for others; benevolence.

Prescriptivism: A view of language that says norms and standards for correct and standard usage can and should be set and followed. The rule against ending a sentence with a preposition is an example.

Reactive Communication: A message sent by one discourse participant to address a message from another participant.

Interactive Communication: Simultaneous and continually occurring messages that account for the manner in which previous messages react to other messages.

Interactive Communication: Simultaneous and continually occurring messages that account for the manner in which previous messages react to other messages.

Efficacy: Power or capacity to produce a desired result or effect on the world.

Reactive Communication: A message sent by one discourse participant to address a message from another participant.

Low-Frequency Vocabulary: Words that uncommonly occur in a language, such as “apopemptic,” “diaphoretic,” and “rebarbative” in English.

Risk: Perceptions of uncertainty and adverse consequences of engaging in an activity.

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