Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

”Status Effect” in User-Generated Content: Evidence from Online Service Reviews

Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2015

This paper provides first empirical evidence on the impact of reviewer status on the objectivity of his contributions in online communities. While previous research indicates that user-generated online reviews guide consumer decision making, little is known about drivers of the actual review generation process. By drawing on Functional Role Theory, we derive four research hypotheses covering the general research question of factors influencing the objectivity of service reviews. Utilizing a data sample covering 413,077 reviews posted over 12 years on www.TripAdvisor.com, we evaluate our research model. Our findings indicate that with increased user status, review objectivity increases. Thus, we contribute to theory by generalizing the so-called "Popularity Effect" to a multi-dimensional "Status Effect", which is more widely applicable (e.g. settings without users-follow-users relationships). Furthermore, our results enable practitioners to find their most valuable content-producers.