"Not some trumped up beef": Assessing Credibility of Online Restaurant Reviews


Online reviews, or electronic word of mouth (eWOM), are an essential source of information for people making decisions about products and services, however they are also susceptible to abuses such as spamming and defamation. Therefore when making decisions, readers must determine if reviews are credible. Yet relatively little research has investigated how people make credibility judgments of online reviews. This paper presents quantitative and qualitative results from a survey of 1,979 respondents, showing that attributes of the reviewer and review content influence credibility ratings. Especially important for judging credibility is the level of detail in the review, whether or not it is balanced in sentiment, and whether the reviewer demonstrates expertise. Our findings contribute to the understanding of how people judge eWOM credibility, and we suggest how eWOM platforms can be designed to coach reviewers to write better reviews and present reviews in a manner that facilitates credibility judgments.