Examining the Relationship Between Reviews and Sales: The Role of Reviewer Identity Disclosure in Electronic Markets

Information Systems Research

43 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2006 Last revised: 27 Oct 2015

See all articles by Chris Forman

Chris Forman

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management; Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business

Anindya Ghose

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Batia Wiesenfeld

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business; New York University (NYU) - Department of Management and Organizational Behavior

Abstract

Consumer-generated product reviews have proliferated online, driven by the notion that consumers' decision to purchase or not purchase a product is based on the positive or negative information about that product they obtain from fellow consumers. Using research on information processing (Chaiken 1980) as a foundation, we suggest that in the context of an online community, reviewer disclosure of identity-descriptive information is used by consumers to supplement or replace product information when making purchase decisions and evaluating the helpfulness of online reviews. Using a unique dataset based on both chronologically compiled ratings as well as reviewer characteristics for a given set of products and geographical location-based purchasing behavior from Amazon, we provide evidence that community norms are an antecedent to reviewer disclosure of identity-descriptive information. Amazon members rate reviews containing identity-descriptive information more positively, and the prevalence of reviewer disclosure of identity information is associated with increases in subsequent online product sales. In addition, we show that when reviewers are from a particular geographic location, subsequent product sales are higher in that region, thus highlighting the important role of geography in electronic commerce. Taken together, our results suggest that identity-relevant information about reviewers shapes community members' judgment of products and reviews. Implications for research on the relationship between online reviews and sales, peer recognition systems, and conformity to online community norms are discussed.

Keywords: Digital Markets, Information Processing, Social Identity, Online Reviews, Internet Retailing, Virtual Communities, Identity Disclosure, User-Generated Content

JEL Classification: M3, L86, D40

Suggested Citation

Forman, Chris and Ghose, Anindya and Wiesenfeld, Batia, Examining the Relationship Between Reviews and Sales: The Role of Reviewer Identity Disclosure in Electronic Markets. Information Systems Research . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1026893 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1026893

Chris Forman

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business ( email )

800 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

Anindya Ghose (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

Batia Wiesenfeld

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

New York University (NYU) - Department of Management and Organizational Behavior ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,431
Abstract Views
7,151
rank
12,511
PlumX Metrics