Perceived 'Usefulness' of Online Consumer Reviews: An Exploratory Investigation Across Three Services Categories

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online reviews, word-of-mouth (WOM), message usefulness, reputation, identity disclosure, expertise


Online reviews, a form of online word-of-mouth (eWOM), have recently become one of the most important sources of information for modern consumers. Recent scholarship involving eWOM often focuses on the transmission and impact of online reviews but sheds less light on the underlying processes that drive consumers' receptions of them. Similarly, few studies have explored the recipients' perspectives in the context of various services. This study addresses the aforementioned gaps in extant literature. The research model in this study is built upon the rich stream of literature related to how people are influenced by information and is tested on reviews collected from Yelp.com, a popular online advisory website dedicated to services businesses throughout the United States. The results of the study show that a combination of both reviewer and review characteristics are significantly correlated with the perceived usefulness of reviews. The study also finds several results that are anomalous to established knowledge related to consumers' information consumption, both offline and online. The authors present the results of the study and discuss their significance for research and practice.

Recommended Citation

Racherla, Pradeep, and Wesley Friske. "Perceived ‘usefulness’ of online consumer reviews: An exploratory investigation across three services categories." Electronic Commerce Research and Applications 11, no. 6 (2012): 548-559.

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