What Do Seller Manipulations of Online Product Reviews Mean to Consumers?

Ling PENG, Geng CUI, Mengzhou ZHUANG, Chunyu LI

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsConference Paper (other)Other Conference Paperpeer-review

Abstract

There is growing evidence that consumers are influenced by online product reviews when making a variety of purchase decisions. Firms are therefore tempted to monitor and manipulate online product reviews on the company’s website or forum to influence consumer perceptions by anonymously posting positive reviews, hiding or deleting unfavorable reviews, or offering rewards to consumers who post favorable reviews. Our review of the literature has revealed a surprising shortage of work directed at the development of an integrative theoretical framework or rigorous empirical studies on the effectiveness and the exact impact of such activities on the payoffs to various parties. This study fills a void in the online marketing and information manipulation literature by studying consumers’ suspicion, awareness and evaluation of specific manipulation tactics through in-depth interviews with 16 experienced online shoppers in China. We adopt a grounded theory approach to analyze the qualitative data and end up with a series of research propositions (research framework) for further testing and verification. The findings about consumers’ views of online manipulations in terms of perceived deceptiveness, ease of detection, ethicability and the consequence on the subsequent purchasing behavior would provide valuable insights to industry associations and policy makers on whether and how to regulate online manipulation activities to ensure the healthy development of the e-commerce.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Event2013 AIB Southeast Asia Regional Conference : International Business Cooperation, Competition, and Coopetition in Asia - The Stones Hotel, Bali, Indonesia
Duration: 5 Dec 20137 Dec 2013

Conference

Conference2013 AIB Southeast Asia Regional Conference : International Business Cooperation, Competition, and Coopetition in Asia
CountryIndonesia
CityBali
Period5/12/137/12/13

Fingerprint

Product review
Seller
Manipulation
Shortage
Online marketing
Testing
In-depth interviews
Politicians
Grounded theory
Electronic commerce
Purchasing behavior
Consumer perceptions
Web sites
Industry association
Suspicion
Qualitative data
Theoretical framework
Purchase decision
China
Reward

Cite this

PENG, L., CUI, G., ZHUANG, M., & LI, C. (2013). What Do Seller Manipulations of Online Product Reviews Mean to Consumers?. Paper presented at 2013 AIB Southeast Asia Regional Conference : International Business Cooperation, Competition, and Coopetition in Asia, Bali, Indonesia.
PENG, Ling ; CUI, Geng ; ZHUANG, Mengzhou ; LI, Chunyu. / What Do Seller Manipulations of Online Product Reviews Mean to Consumers?. Paper presented at 2013 AIB Southeast Asia Regional Conference : International Business Cooperation, Competition, and Coopetition in Asia, Bali, Indonesia.22 p.
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PENG, L, CUI, G, ZHUANG, M & LI, C 2013, 'What Do Seller Manipulations of Online Product Reviews Mean to Consumers?' Paper presented at 2013 AIB Southeast Asia Regional Conference : International Business Cooperation, Competition, and Coopetition in Asia, Bali, Indonesia, 5/12/13 - 7/12/13, .

What Do Seller Manipulations of Online Product Reviews Mean to Consumers? / PENG, Ling; CUI, Geng; ZHUANG, Mengzhou; LI, Chunyu.

2013. Paper presented at 2013 AIB Southeast Asia Regional Conference : International Business Cooperation, Competition, and Coopetition in Asia, Bali, Indonesia.

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsConference Paper (other)Other Conference Paperpeer-review

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T1 - What Do Seller Manipulations of Online Product Reviews Mean to Consumers?

AU - PENG, Ling

AU - CUI, Geng

AU - ZHUANG, Mengzhou

AU - LI, Chunyu

PY - 2013/12

Y1 - 2013/12

N2 - There is growing evidence that consumers are influenced by online product reviews when making a variety of purchase decisions. Firms are therefore tempted to monitor and manipulate online product reviews on the company’s website or forum to influence consumer perceptions by anonymously posting positive reviews, hiding or deleting unfavorable reviews, or offering rewards to consumers who post favorable reviews. Our review of the literature has revealed a surprising shortage of work directed at the development of an integrative theoretical framework or rigorous empirical studies on the effectiveness and the exact impact of such activities on the payoffs to various parties. This study fills a void in the online marketing and information manipulation literature by studying consumers’ suspicion, awareness and evaluation of specific manipulation tactics through in-depth interviews with 16 experienced online shoppers in China. We adopt a grounded theory approach to analyze the qualitative data and end up with a series of research propositions (research framework) for further testing and verification. The findings about consumers’ views of online manipulations in terms of perceived deceptiveness, ease of detection, ethicability and the consequence on the subsequent purchasing behavior would provide valuable insights to industry associations and policy makers on whether and how to regulate online manipulation activities to ensure the healthy development of the e-commerce.

AB - There is growing evidence that consumers are influenced by online product reviews when making a variety of purchase decisions. Firms are therefore tempted to monitor and manipulate online product reviews on the company’s website or forum to influence consumer perceptions by anonymously posting positive reviews, hiding or deleting unfavorable reviews, or offering rewards to consumers who post favorable reviews. Our review of the literature has revealed a surprising shortage of work directed at the development of an integrative theoretical framework or rigorous empirical studies on the effectiveness and the exact impact of such activities on the payoffs to various parties. This study fills a void in the online marketing and information manipulation literature by studying consumers’ suspicion, awareness and evaluation of specific manipulation tactics through in-depth interviews with 16 experienced online shoppers in China. We adopt a grounded theory approach to analyze the qualitative data and end up with a series of research propositions (research framework) for further testing and verification. The findings about consumers’ views of online manipulations in terms of perceived deceptiveness, ease of detection, ethicability and the consequence on the subsequent purchasing behavior would provide valuable insights to industry associations and policy makers on whether and how to regulate online manipulation activities to ensure the healthy development of the e-commerce.

M3 - Conference Paper (other)

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PENG L, CUI G, ZHUANG M, LI C. What Do Seller Manipulations of Online Product Reviews Mean to Consumers?. 2013. Paper presented at 2013 AIB Southeast Asia Regional Conference : International Business Cooperation, Competition, and Coopetition in Asia, Bali, Indonesia.