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Cutting Through the Online Review Jungle — Investigating Selective eWOM Processing

Gottschalk, S. A. & Mafael, A. (2017). Cutting Through the Online Review Jungle — Investigating Selective eWOM Processing. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 37, pp. 89-104. doi: 10.1016/j.intmar.2016.06.001


Consumers frequently rely on online reviews, a prominent form of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), before making a purchase decision. However, consumers are usually confronted with hundreds of reviews for a single product or service, as well as rich information cues on online review websites (review texts, helpfulness ratings, author information, etc.). In turn, consumers face more information cues on online review websites than they can or want to process, and are likely to proceed selectively. This paper investigates selective processing of such eWOM information cues. Results of Study 1, an exploratory study using verbal protocols, confirm that consumers display selective eWOM processing patterns and are able to articulate them. Study 2 develops and applies a measurement instrument to capture these patterns. A subsequent cluster analysis on members of a large-scale online panel (N = 2,295) indicates five prominent eWOM processing types, termed “The Efficients”, “The Meticulous”, “The Quality-Evaluators”, “The Cautious Critics”, and “The Swift Pessimists”. Insights of this research can help firms to better understand consumers' eWOM processing and improve the user-friendliness of online review websites.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2017. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: Electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), Online reviews, Information overload, Selective information processing, Measurement instrument, Verbal protocols
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
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Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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