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May we buy your love? psychological effects of incentives on writing likelihood and valence of online product reviews

Ina Garnefeld (), Sabrina Helm () and Ann-Kathrin Grötschel ()
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Ina Garnefeld: University of Wuppertal
Sabrina Helm: University of Arizona, Norton School of Family & Consumer Sciences
Ann-Kathrin Grötschel: Vaillant GmbH

Electronic Markets, 2020, vol. 30, issue 4, No 10, 805-820

Abstract: Abstract Acknowledging the impact on their sales, companies strive to increase the number of positive online reviews of their products. A recently popular practice for stimulating online reviews is offering monetary rewards to customers in return for writing an online review. However, it is unclear whether such practices succeed in fulfilling two main objectives, namely, increasing the number and the valence of online reviews. With one pilot and two experimental studies, this research shows that offering incentives indeed increases the likelihood of review writing. However, the effect on review valence is mixed, due to contradictory psychological effects: Incentive recipients intend to reciprocate by writing favorable reviews but also perceive a need to resist marketers’ influence, which negatively affects their review valence. Finally, recipients who are less satisfied with the product are particularly prone to psychological costs and decrease the positivity of their online reviews. Consequently, incentives should be applied carefully.

Keywords: Online review; Incentive; Reciprocity; Psychological costs; Experiments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s12525-020-00425-4

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