The unintended effects of hidden assumptions: biases on the internet

The unintended effects of hidden assumptions: biases on the internet The presence of cues embedded in the online environment influence how consumers interpret information and eventually make a decision. These cues can be biased, thus affecting decision quality. The aims of the research study were to identify sources of biases of different web sites, to identify how frequently they are observed, and to investigate to what extent these biases are more or less present across different online businesses. A sample of 93 Australian web sites was evaluated along the presence or absence of biases in rating of stores and products with which they deal, information on price and cost of products, information on seals or logo endorsements, and paid inclusion or advertising in search results. On average, one third of the web sites that posted price information were biased. Of those web sites that used seals and logo endorsements, about half did not provide much information of what the logo stood for. About 68 percent of shopping guide search engines do not adhere to the recommendation of disclosing payment for inclusion. Online businesses may want to consider the implications of conveying incomplete information that may mislead consumers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Online Information Review Emerald Publishing

The unintended effects of hidden assumptions: biases on the internet

Online Information Review, Volume 28 (6): 10 – Dec 1, 2004

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1468-4527
DOI
10.1108/14684520410570571
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The presence of cues embedded in the online environment influence how consumers interpret information and eventually make a decision. These cues can be biased, thus affecting decision quality. The aims of the research study were to identify sources of biases of different web sites, to identify how frequently they are observed, and to investigate to what extent these biases are more or less present across different online businesses. A sample of 93 Australian web sites was evaluated along the presence or absence of biases in rating of stores and products with which they deal, information on price and cost of products, information on seals or logo endorsements, and paid inclusion or advertising in search results. On average, one third of the web sites that posted price information were biased. Of those web sites that used seals and logo endorsements, about half did not provide much information of what the logo stood for. About 68 percent of shopping guide search engines do not adhere to the recommendation of disclosing payment for inclusion. Online businesses may want to consider the implications of conveying incomplete information that may mislead consumers.

Journal

Online Information ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Dec 1, 2004

Keywords: Internet; Fraud; Bias; Advertising; Misrepresentation

References

  • What makes a web site credible? A report on a large quantitative study
    Fogg, B.J.; Marshall, J.; Laraki, O.; Osipovich, A.; Varma, C.; Fang, N.; Paul, J.; Rangnekar, A.; Shon, J.; Swani, P.; Treinen, M.
  • Detecting deception: adversarial problem solving in a low base rate world
    Johnson, P.E.; Grazioli, S.; Jamal, K.; Berryman, G.R.
  • Lying: deception in human affairs
    Meltzer, B.
  • Promotional competitions as a marketing tool in food retailing
    Peattie, S.
  • Product search in e‐shopping: a review and search propositions
    Rowley, J.
  • Consumers' perceptions of promotional framing of price
    Sinha, I.; Smith, M.

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