Word-Of-Mouth Vs. Number-Of-Mouth and the (Mis)Communication of Preferences

Samuel Bond, Georgia Tech, USA
Stephen Xihao He, Georgia Tech, USA
Talya Miron-Shatz, University of Pennsylvania, Ono Academic College, USA
This research examines the communication function of consumer WOM by comparing the ability of different review formats to accurately convey a reviewer’s evaluation. Utilizing experiments involving actual online reviews, we find that simple attribute ratings can be more or less effective than review commentary, depending on the extremity of the product experience being described. By applying a linguistic analysis tool to commentary content, we demonstrate that specific characteristics are predictive of communication errors. Finally, using a ‘telephone’-type game involving chains of participants, we observe greater decay in communication accuracy for commentary-based than that attribute-based WOM.
[ to cite ]:
Samuel Bond, Stephen Xihao He, and Talya Miron-Shatz (2011) ,"Word-Of-Mouth Vs. Number-Of-Mouth and the (Mis)Communication of Preferences", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39, eds. Rohini Ahluwalia, Tanya L. Chartrand, and Rebecca K. Ratner, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 852-853.