Peer Reviewed/Refereed Publication
Journal of Marketing Communications
Management, Marketing and Business Administration
Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business
Many online retailers and some manufacturers/service providers have recently been engaging in questionable practices, where product reviews are often fabricated and/or posted without sufficient clarity and objectivity. Across an exploratory study and two main studies, we empirically examine this phenomenon and observe a pattern of effects that suggests that review valence (i.e., the average number of rating-stars a product receives) influences product attitudes and intentions, but that these outcomes are significantly impacted by the extent to which consumers are aware of potentially deceptive online review practices. Awareness of deceptive practices was found to differentially influence attitudes and intentions, depending upon whether the star-ratings were perfect (5/5 stars), highly positive (4.9/5 stars), or generally positive (4.5/5 or 4.7/5 stars). Participants’ perceptions of the e-retailer’s manipulative intent were also shown to mediate these effects, with higher perceptions of perceived manipulative intent yielding less favorable product attitudes and reduced purchase intentions.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Marketing Communications on May 5, 2020, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13527266.2020.1759120.