What Motivates Consumers to Produce Online Reviews? Solidarity, Status, and the Soapbox Effect
66 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2013
Date Written: February 1, 2013
A new kind of consumer behavior has emerged online: publishing reviews of a product or service one has consumed, for no tangible compensation (e.g., on Yelp.com). We examine three possibilities for consumers’ motivation to produce reviews: that reviews are written from a sense of community; or instead, to compete for status; or alternatively, out of some intrinsic motivation. Each of these makes a different prediction about the effects of positive feedback. Using three longitudinal datasets, we find that feedback has a small negative effect on review production, except in the case of new reviewers, and at the extreme of no feedback. We interpret the negative effect of feedback as a demotivating impact of external rewards on a self-determined behavior. Consumers emerge as intrinsically motivated to express their views and tastes to an audience of strangers. These results point to more general factors that distinguish newly emergent consumer behaviors made possible by the Web.
Keywords: online reviews, eWOM, solidarity, intrinsic motivation
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