Title

Do Online Reviews Reflect a Product's True Perceived Quality? An Investigation of Online Movie Reviews across Cultures

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2010

Abstract

This paper investigates when the reported average of online ratings matches the perceived average assessment of the population as a whole, including the average assessments of both raters and non-raters. We apply behavioral theory to capture intentions in rating online movie reviews in two dissimilar countries – China and the United States. We argue that consumers’ rating behaviors are affected by cultural influences and that they are influenced in predictable ways. Based on data collected from IMDB.com and Douban.com, we found significant differences across raters from these two different cultures. Additionally, we examined how cultural elements influence rating behavior for a hybrid culture – Singapore. To study whether online consumer reviews are subjected to under-reporting bias, which is, consumers with extreme opinions are more likely to report their opinions than consumers with moderate reviews causing online reviews to be a biased estimator of a product’s true quality, we compare the consumer reviews posted online with those from an experimental study. Our results shows that under-reporting is more prevalent among U.S. online network, thus online reviews are a better movie perceived quality proxy in China and Singapore than in the U.S.

Keywords

Online reviews, movie ratings, cross-cultural comparisons, under-reporting bias

Discipline

Communication Technology and New Media | Computer Sciences | E-Commerce

Research Areas

Information Systems and Management

Publication

Electronic Commerce Research and Applications

Volume

9

Issue

5

First Page

374

Last Page

385

ISSN

1567-4223

Identifier

10.1016/j.elerap.2010.04.001

Publisher

Elsevier

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.elerap.2010.04.001