SAU Unified Theory of Acceptance and Utilization of Technology Summary Write a summary of the theory, research design, analysis, and conclusions regarding each paper given below in two seperate papers. The summary of the theory, research design, analysis, and conclusion all the four has to be two pages each for research paper and 300 words per each research paper(Totally 600 word for two research papers) and in APA format with references of those in APA format. Are Consumers More Likely to Contribute
Online Reviews for Hit or Niche Products?
Chrysanthos Dellarocas, Guodong (Gordon) Gao, and
Chrysanthos Dellarocas is an Associate Professor at Boston University’s School
of Management. He has previously taught at MIT’s Sloan School of Management,
NYU’s Stern School of Business, and University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith
School of Business. He received his Diploma in Electrical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer
Science from MIT. His research studies how user-generated content and social media
affect operations, marketing, and open innovation, and how such media should be
designed for optimal social and economic impact. His work has been published at
venues that include Management Science, Information Systems Research, Journal of
Interactive Marketing, Sloan Management Review, and IEEE Transactions on Parallel
and Distributed Systems. It has led to inventions that have been granted nine U.S. and
international patents. Dr. Dellarocas serves on the editorial boards of Management
Science and Information Systems Research. He is the recipient of several teaching and
funding awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER award.
Guodong (Gordon) Gao is an Assistant Professor in the Decision, Operations, and
Information Technology Department at the R.H. Smith School, University of Maryland, College Park. Professor Gao received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and
B.A. in Economics from Tsinghua University, his MBA from the Tsinghua–MIT
Sloan Joint Program, and his Ph.D. in Operations and Information Management from
the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include
online ratings, quality certifications, health IT, and product innovation. His research
has been published or is forthcoming in leading journals such as Management Sciences,
Journal of Management Information Systems, Manufacturing and Service Operations
Management, Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, and MIS Quarterly
Executive and in conference proceedings. He has taught undergraduate, MBA, and
doctoral courses on IS economics and strategy. His teaching has won the Top 15%
Teaching Award at the Smith School.
Ritu Narayan received her M.S. in Business and Management from the Robert H.
Smith School of Business, University of Maryland. She received her B.E. in Instrumentation and Control Engineering from Delhi Institute of Technology, Delhi, and
her MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow.
Abstract: User-generated content has been hailed by some as a democratizing force
that enables consumers to discuss niche products that were previously ignored by
mainstream media. Nevertheless, the extent to which consumers truly prefer to use
these new outlets to discuss lesser-known products as opposed to spending most of
their energies on discussing widely marketed or already successful products has so far
Journal of Management Information Systems / Fall 2010, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 127–157.
© 2010 M.E. Sharpe, Inc.
0742–1222 / 2010 $9.50 + 0.00.
Dellarocas, Gao, and Narayan
remained an open question. We explore this question by investigating how a population’s propensity to contribute postconsumption online reviews for different products
of the same category (motion pictures) relates to various indicators of those products’
popularity. We discover that, ceteris paribus, consumers prefer to post reviews for
products that are less available and less successful in the market. At the same time,
however, they are also more likely to contribute reviews for products that many other
people have already commented on online. The presence of these two opposite forces
leads to a U‑shaped relationship between a population’s average propensity to review
a movie postconsumption and that movie’s box office revenues: moviegoers appear
to be more likely to contribute reviews for very obscure movies but also for very
high-grossing movies. Our findings suggest that online forum designers who wish
to increase the contribution of user reviews for lesser-known products should make
information about the volume of previously posted reviews a less-prominent feature
of their sites.
Key words and phrases: consumer behavior, econometrics, information intermediaries, online product reviews, online word of mouth, Web 2.0.
Online product review forums, blogs, discussion boards, and other forms of usercentered Internet media have emerged as an influential source of prepurchase information, with 26 percent of Internet users reporting that they have contributed to them and
61 percent reporting that they find them valuable and trustworthy.1 These new media
have been hailed by some as a democratizing force that enables consumers to discuss
niche products that were previously ignored by mainstream media . Nevertheless,
the extent to which consumers truly prefer to use these new outlets to discuss lesserknown products as opposed to spending most of their energies on discussing widely
marketed or already popular products has so far remained an open question.
Traditional theories of product-related interpersonal communication [4, 14, 20, 36]
suggest that, ceteris paribus, consumers are more likely to engage in word of mouth
(WOM) about less-known, unique products than about widely available, common
products because discussing the former makes them look more intelligent and more
helpful in the eyes of their interlocutors.2 If such behavior carries over to the online
domain, it might mean that consumers are indeed disproportionately more likely to
contribute content for niche products. A series of recent studies, however, hint that this
may not be the case. These studies argue that important aspects of the Internet, such
as the popularity-based ranking of search engine results  and the prevalence of
prominently displayed statistics about other consumers’ choices [16, 37], might end
up focusing consumer consumption decisions (e.g., Web site visits, downloads) on
already popular products, a phenomenon somewhat analogous to Rosen’s “superstar
Our study adds to this broad discourse. However, instead of looking at consumption
decisions, it focuses on the drivers of consumer content contribution. Specifically, we
investigate how a population’s propensity to contribute online reviews for different
products of the same category postconsumption relates to offline and online indica-
Online reviews for hit and niche products
tors of those products’ popularity. We define propensity to review as the conditional
probability that a “representative” consumer of a population will contribute a review
for a product conditional on having purchased it.
Our analysis is based on a rich data set of user reviews posted for movies on a
popular Web site together with detailed box office data for the same movies. The
availability of both review and sales data allows us to relate the weekly volume of
online reviews to the size of the purchasing population during the same period and,
thus, to derive estimates of the population’s average postconsumption propensity to
review a movie.
We discover that, ceteris paribus, consumers prefer to post reviews for products
that are less available and less successful in the market. At the same time, however,
they are also more likely to contribute reviews for products that many other people
have already commented on online. The simultaneous presence of these two opposite
forces results in a U‑shaped relationship between a purchasing population’s average
propensity to review a movie and that movie’s box office revenues: moviegoers appear to be more likely to contribute reviews for very obscure movies but also for very
Our work extends prior theories of interpersonal (offline) product communication by
considering how some of the unique properties of online product communications—
most notably the persistence of previously posted content—affect people’s propensity
to contribute postconsumption content for a given product. Our results suggest that,
consistent with traditional theories of product-related WOM, at the population level,
consumers exhibit what appears to be a penchant for discussing obscure products
online. However, this tendency appears to be moderated by the attraction of some
consumers to joining popular online “conversations,” a behavior that, in our opinion,
is related to the persistence of previously posted online content and further reinforced
by the prominent visibility of user review counts in current systems . Our findings
have interesting implications for marketing managers as well as for information intermediaries (infomediaries) interested in reducing the informational inequality between
hit and niche products. We discuss these in detail in the final section of the paper.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows. Next, we discuss related work. The
third section introduces our theoretical framework and develops our hypotheses. In
the fourth section, we introduce our data set. The fifth section describes our model
and presents our findings. Finally, we discuss managerial implications and outline
opportunities for further research.
Our study is most directly related to research on the motivations of online product
review contribution. Most prior academic research on this topic has concentrated on
assessing the relationship between consumer-generated content and product sales.
Early, as well as recent, studies have focused on examining how consumer content
influences peers and, in turn, sales [8, 9, 26, 35]. Other studies have examined the
value of various metrics of online consumer content in influencing and predicting
future sales [7, 10, 12, 15, 21, 28, 31].
Dellarocas, Gao, and Narayan
Less attention has, so far, been given to the antecedents of online review contribution.
Hennig-Thurau et al.  is, to our knowledge, the first study on the topic. The authors
integrate a number of theories of interpersonal communication into a taxonomy of
11 possible motives for contributing online content. With the help of a survey instrument, they conclude that desire for social interaction, desire for economic incentives,
concern for other consumers, and the potential for self-enhancement are the primary
motivators of online review contribution. Dellarocas and Narayan  propose a
metric of a population’s propensity to engage in online WOM and demonstrate that
results obtained through the use of this metric are consistent with traditional theories
of WOM. Amblee and Bui  show that the volume of future online reviews has a
positive correlation with a product’s existing brand reputation as well as with the brand
reputation of complementary goods.
None of the above studies overlaps with the main focus of our work, namely, an
in-depth empirical analysis of the effect of a product’s availability and popularity on
a purchasing population’s propensity to review that product online.
Our study also has indirect connections to the ongoing debate about whether Web
2.0 and social media increase or decrease cultural and consumption diversity. Some
influential early studies observed that online retailers offer a much wider variety of
products and sell more products that are less popular than do traditional retailers .
Since then, a number of researchers have looked more closely into how the Internet
affects consumer demand for popular and niche products, often finding contradictory
results. Oestreicher-Singer and Sundararajan  report that Amazon.com’s copurchase lists (“customers who bought X also bought Y”) appear to induce a shifting
of demand toward the “long tail” of less-popular books. On the other hand, Elberse
and Oberholzer-Gee  study the evolution of home video sales in 2000–2005 and
find evidence for the presence of both a “long-tail” and a “superstar” effect: although
the number of titles that sell only a few copies every week increases almost twofold,
among the best-performing titles an ever-smaller number of titles accounts for the bulk
of sales. Using very different data sets and methods, Duan et al. , Hindman et al.
, Salganik et al. , and Tucker and Zhang  independently study the effect
of the availability of popularity information (e.g., download counts, “most visited”
lists) on consumer actions and find that these reinforce consumer interest in the most
popular vendors and products.
In contrast to the above studies that focus on consumption patterns, our study looks
at how indicators of product popularity affect the corresponding patterns of consumergenerated content contribution. This has indirect relevance to consumption patterns
because consumer-generated content has been hailed as a force that helps consumers
locate products that were previously ignored by mainstream media and is, therefore,
an important antecedent of consumption patterns .
Our objective in this study is to understand how a population’s average postconsumption propensity to discuss a product online relates to various indicators of that
Online reviews for hit and niche products
product’s availability and popularity. To develop our research hypotheses, we draw on
prior studies of the motives of interpersonal product communication. We then extend
these studies by considering how key properties of the online domain, such as the
persistence of previously posted content, are likely to affect people’s propensity to
contribute postconsumption online opinions.
Online product reviews bear many similarities to offline product-related WOM
communication: both constitute a first-person account of a consumer’s experience
with a product and both are primarily addressed to other consumers. An initial understanding of how online review contribution relates to product popularity can thus
benefit from extant knowledge in the literature on the motivations for (offline) WOM
A seminal study of WOM communication motives is by Dichter . Subsequent
authors [4, 19, 36] have refined and provided empirical support for Dichter’s framework
but have not substantially altered it. Hennig-Thurau et al.’s  recent work on the
motivations of electronic WOM is also largely based on Dichter’s framework. Dichter
identified four main motivational categories of WOM communication:
• Self-involvement or self-enhancement: Product-related conversation is motivated
by the speaker’s need to enhance himself or herself in front of his or her audience.
In this context, WOM allows the speaker to gain attention, show connoisseurship,
suggest status, give the impression of possessing inside information, and assert
• Other involvement: Consumers discuss products because of a genuine desire to
help others make a better purchase decision.
• Product involvement: WOM conversations act as a tension-releasing mechanism
when the consumer has had a particularly positive or negative experience with
• Message involvement: This case refers to discussion that is stimulated by advertisements, commercials, or public relations.
Dichter’s theory of self-involvement motivations suggests that consumers have a
higher propensity to share their experiences with others when these make them look
unique, intelligent, and savvy. This, in turn, implies that consumers would be more
likely to discuss less well-known, “underdog” products for which they perceive
that their interlocutors know less. Such behavior would also be consistent with the
theory of other involvement: if consumers are primarily motivated by a desire to
help others, discussing obscure products about which their listeners’ knowledge may
be limited would be more helpful (to listeners) than discussing widely available or
already successful products for which listeners are more likely to have sufficient
We believe that it is useful to distinguish between market availability and market
success as it is possible for a product to be widely available but not successful (e.g.,
a highly advertised movie that is widely released but fails to fill movie theaters),
or vice versa (e.g., a Broadway play that only plays in one location but is sold out
for the entire season, or a trendy restaurant that is fully booked for months). Our
Dellarocas, Gao, and Narayan
theoretical framework predicts that the propensity to review follows similar trends
in both cases: perception of viewpoint uniqueness, whether because a product is
less available or because fewer consumers have chosen to purchase it, increases a
purchaser’s propensity to discuss the product online.
The positive correlation between willingness to contribute online content and a
contributor’s perception of his or her viewpoints’ uniqueness has been documented
by Ling et al. . Drawing on Karau and Williams’s  collective-action model,
Ling et al. show that people will contribute more to online communities when given
personalized information showing that their contributions would be unique. In our
setting, there is no personalized information but we hypothesize that prospective
contributors use publicly available indicators of a product’s availability and market
performance to assess a product’s popularity or obscurity, which in turn determines
the perceived uniqueness of their online opinions.
The following two hypotheses emerge from the preceding discussion:
Hypothesis 1: Everything else being equal, the propensity to review a product
online postconsumption is higher for products that are perceived to be less available in the market.
Hypothesis 2: Everything else being equal, the propensity to review a product
online postconsumption is higher for products that are perceived to be less successful in the market.
Despite their similarities, offline WOM and online reviews have important differences whose consequences have not received enough attention in the literature. One
critical distinction that sets apart these two modes of communication is that whereas
the former “disappears into thin air,” the latter remains in public repositories. The
persistence of the online medium allows individuals to observe, engage with, and react
to what the rest of the world is talking about a product online. Drawing on Dichter
 and Hennig-Thurau et al. , we argue that this is likely to affect consumers’
propensity to discuss products online in profound ways.
Consistent with the message involvement theory [14, 36], we postulate that persistent
consumer-generated content about products constitutes a new form of “message” that
can, by itself, stimulate further discussion and communication. Empirical evidence
 suggests that the persistence of previous product opinions provides stimulation to
subsequent reviewers, inducing a trend-following process that leads to the expression
of increasingly extreme views.
The above argument is also consistent with Hennig-Thurau et al. , whose study
shows that by participating in Web-based opinion platforms, consumers become part
of a virtual community where they gain social benefit in terms of identification and
social integration. Hennig-Thurau et al. also observe that comments written by others
can also motivate consumers to write comments. We expect that a larger and more
vibrant community (as measured by the volume of past contributions, which is easily
visible even to first-time visitors) should induce more users to participate.
The following hypothesis follows from the preceding discussion:
Online reviews for hit and niche products
Hypothesis 3: Everything else being equal, the propensity to post online reviews
about a product postconsumption is positively related to the v…
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