What Motivates Consumers to Produce Online Reviews? Solidarity, Status, and the Soapbox Effect

66 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2013  

Edward F. McQuarrie

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business

Shelby H. McIntyre

Santa Clara University

Ravi Shanmugam

Santa Clara University - Marketing

Date Written: February 1, 2013

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

McQuarrie, Edward F. and McIntyre, Shelby H. and Shanmugam, Ravi, What Motivates Consumers to Produce Online Reviews? Solidarity, Status, and the Soapbox Effect (February 1, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2210707 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2210707

Edward F. McQuarrie (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA California 95053
United States

Shelby H. McIntyre

Santa Clara University ( email )

Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States

Ravi Shanmugam

Santa Clara University - Marketing ( email )

Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States

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