What Factors Sustain the Production of Online Reviews? Role of Community Feedback and Differences in Individual Motivation

63 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2013 Last revised: 18 May 2014

See all articles by Edward F. McQuarrie

Edward F. McQuarrie

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business

Shelby H. McIntyre

Santa Clara University

Ravi Shanmugam

Santa Clara University - Marketing

Date Written: November 22, 2013

Abstract

Online reviews have become an important part of the retailing environment. However, comparatively little is known about why ordinary consumers voluntarily produce reviews, sometimes in substantial volume over a long period. We examine the role of social facilitation, in the form of community feedback, as well as differences in individual motivation. For this purpose we constructed an archive of data on Yelp restaurant reviewers and also surveyed a separate sample of reviewers. In a longitudinal analysis we find that receiving positive feedback on reviews increases the probability that a novice reviewer will continue to produce reviews, but has no detectable effect on established reviewers. The survey indicated that the most productive reviewers may also have a distinct motivation, which is to publish their writing and gain an audience or public presence for themselves. In turn, the most productive reviewers are also less likely to produce extremely positive or extremely negative reviews (raves and rants). Implications for how retailers should respond to consumer reviews in light of these differences in motivation are discussed.

Keywords: online reviews, motivation, feedback, self-determination theory, Yelp

JEL Classification: D64, H41, M3

Suggested Citation

McQuarrie, Edward F. and McIntyre, Shelby H. and Shanmugam, Ravi, What Factors Sustain the Production of Online Reviews? Role of Community Feedback and Differences in Individual Motivation (November 22, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2358565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2358565

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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