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Reviewer Motivations, Bias, and Credibility in Online Reviews

Reviewer Motivations, Bias, and Credibility in Online Reviews
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Author(s): Jo Mackiewicz (Auburn University, USA)
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 15
Source title: Handbook of Research on Computer Mediated Communication
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Sigrid Kelsey (Louisiana State University, USA) and Kirk St.Amant (East Carolina University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-863-5.ch020

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Abstract

In the emerging CMC genre of online reviews, lay people, as opposed to professional writers, evaluate products and services, and they receive no pay for their time or effort. This chapter examines possible motivations for writing reviews, particularly efficacy and altruism. In addition, this chapter examines a sample of 640 online reviews to see whether a positive bias existed; indeed, over 48 percent of reviews bestowed the highest rating—5 stars. Finally, the chapter investigates how reviews manifest reviewers’ concern for establishing credibility by examining four reviews’ varying degrees of careful editing: use of low-frequency vocabulary, planned content, prescription-adhering grammar, correct punctuation, and correct spelling. Detailed analysis of the four online reviews—reviews of a recipe, a camcorder, a tour guide service, and a book—according to the extent to which they displayed careful editing, revealed that the reviews displayed spelling and punctuation errors. However, two of the four reviews showed careful

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