Online Review Helpfulness: Role of Qualitative Factors

Arpita Agnihotri, Saurabh Bhattacharya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Consumers are increasingly reading online reviews before making any purchasing decisions. The significance of online reviews has only grown over the years. Though in the past, scholars have emphasized the impact of quantitative factors (e.g., review ratings) on online reviews, only recently have they begun to explore the role of qualitative aspects of online reviews. Content readability and associated sentiments in text provide two important qualitative cues that influence the helpfulness of online reviews. However, the extant literature has overemphasized the linear association between these aspects and the helpfulness of reviews. Using the elaboration likelihood model and the classic ideal point concept, the current work asserts that after an ideal point is attained, lucid and sentimental reviews diminish in utility (i.e., helpfulness of an online review for consumers decreases). This may happen because consumers are wary of fraudulent reviews. This study proposes that if experienced reviewers give such extreme reviews, then consumers might still draw utility from these reviews. In other words, this study explains the moderating role of reviewer experience, which heuristically influences consumers’ trust of online reviews, thus making even too simplistic or extremely sentimental reviews helpful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1006-1017
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing


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