Effects of Membership Tier on User Content Generation Behaviors: Evidence from Online Reviews
Electronic Commerce Research, Forthcoming
28 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 14, 2017
Online shopping websites typically classify customers into different membership tiers in their customer relationship management systems. This study investigates the effects of membership tiers on user content generation behavior in the context of an electronic commerce marketplace that has a membership tier program and an online review system. Grounded in theories related to status, our study hypothesizes the effects of membership tiers on user content generation behaviors as well as the helpfulness of the content they generated in the context of online reviews. We collected online data from a world-leading shopping website. The results from our empirical analyses indicate that membership tier has a positive effect on review rating and review delay, whereas it has a negative effect on review depth. Additionally, we tested mediation effects of review rating, depth and delay between membership tiers and review helpfulness, and found that membership tier negatively affected review helpfulness indirectly. Interestingly, reviews posted by high-status customers are perceived as more helpful than those of others when we controlled for review characteristics. This study contributes to research on online product reviews and customer relationship management.
Keywords: User Content Generation, Online Reviews, Membership Tier, Status
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