This research explores the effects of profanity on perceptions of online reviews’ usefulness. Based on the prior research that described asymmetric attribution effects, we predict that when consumers see profanity in an online review, their reactions differ depending on the valence of the review. Specifically, when profanity is used in a negative review, it should reduce review usefulness because of decreased perceived reviewer objectivity. Among positive reviews, profanity increases review usefulness through greater perceived reviewer credibility. Through analysis of Yelp data, we show that the effect of profanity on usefulness depends on review valence. Experimentally, we demonstrate the opposing mediating effects of perceived objectivity and credibility on the usefulness of the review.
Marketing Letters – Springer Journals
Published: May 22, 2018
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