Title: Trust and the online conversation: the case of online reviews

Authors: W. Glynn Mangold; Emin Babakus; Katherine Taken Smith

Addresses: Department of Management, Marketing & Business Administration, BB451, Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky 42071, USA ' Department of Marketing & Supply Chain Management, BA 327, Fogelman College of Business & Economics, University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee 38152, USA ' Department of Management, Marketing & Business Administration, BB451, Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky 42071, USA

Abstract: Online reviews constitute one form of interpersonal influence that is relevant to the marketplace. They are a venue through which online conversations occur. Evidence suggests that the effectiveness of communication is heavily influenced by the level of trust between parties. However, relatively little is known about how trust impacts the online conversation. This research explores the online conversation by applying the ADTRUST scale to the online review environment. The results indicate that those who place trust in online reviews are more likely to be influenced by them. Those who are likely to be influenced by online reviews, in turn, are more likely to contribute a review. This suggests that a certain amount of reciprocation may be occurring in the online conversation. Trust does not have a direct effect on contributing online reviews. Instead, its effect is indirect, which is mediated by susceptibility to be influenced by online reviews.

Keywords: trust; social media; interpersonal influence; online reviews; ADTRUST; REVIEWTRUST; online communications; CRM; customer relationship management; internet marketing; internet advertising; trustworthiness.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2013.058597

International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, 2013 Vol.8 No.2, pp.143 - 160

Available online: 08 Jan 2014 *

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