Effects of Membership Tier on User Content Generation Behaviors: Evidence from Online Reviews

Electronic Commerce Research, Forthcoming

28 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2017

See all articles by Dongpu Fu

Dongpu Fu

Capital University of Economics and Business

Yili Hong

Arizona State University (ASU) - W.P. Carey School of Business

Kanliang Wang

Xi'an Jiaotong University (XJTU) - School of Management

Weiguo Fan

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University - Department of Accounting and Information Systems

Date Written: July 14, 2017

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Fu, Dongpu and Hong, Yili and Wang, Kanliang and Fan, Weiguo, Effects of Membership Tier on User Content Generation Behaviors: Evidence from Online Reviews (July 14, 2017). Electronic Commerce Research, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3002787

Dongpu Fu

Capital University of Economics and Business ( email )

Beijing
China

Yili Hong (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - W.P. Carey School of Business ( email )

Tempe, AZ 85287-3706
United States

HOME PAGE: http://yilihong.github.io/

Kanliang Wang

Xi'an Jiaotong University (XJTU) - School of Management ( email )

28,Xianning West Road
Xi'an, Shaanxi 710049
China

Weiguo Fan

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University - Department of Accounting and Information Systems ( email )

Pamplin College of Business
3007 Pamplin Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States
540-231-6588 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cob.vt.edu/acis/faculty/wfan/

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