Episode 5: Customers talking back

In the first part of the episode, we introduce the topic of customers talking back, starting with the Stop Funding Hate campaign, which lobbies companies not to place advertisements in divisive British newspapers. Information about the campaign is available on their website https://stopfundinghate.info/.

We also mention the example of fake reviews of gendered Bic pens on Amazon as a form of customers engaging in social critique through humour. You can find a selection of those fake reviews here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/annanorth/12-hilarious-reviews-of-a-pen-just-for-women)  

Another (inadvertently) humorous example of customers talking to companies is this Twitter exchange between a customer of Domino’s Pizza and the company: 

We then go on to discuss electronic word of mouth (or eWOM for short), with Bernard and Erika referring to a number of relevant studies:

Babić Rosario, A., Sotgiu, F., de Valck, K., & Bijmolt, T. H. A. (2016). The effect of electronic word of mouth on sales: A meta-analytic review of platform, product, and metric factors. Journal of Marketing Research, 53(3), 297-318.

Kim, K., Yoon, S., & Choi, Y. K. (2019). The effects of eWOM volume and valence on product sales – an empirical examination of the movie industry. International Journal of Advertising, 38(3), 471-488.

Luca, M., & Zervas, G. (2016). Fake it till you make it: Reputation, competition, and Yelp review fraud. Management Science, 62(12), 3412-3427.

The proportion of fake reviews on Trip Advisor was reported in The Times: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/hotel-and-caf-cheats-are-caught-trying-to-buy-tripadvisor-stars-027fbcwc8 (paywall).  

The study about how confident people are about being able to spot fake reviews is summarised here, along with a test to find out how good you are at detecting reviews that are not genuine: https://theconversation.com/how-to-spot-a-fake-review-youre-probably-worse-at-it-than-you-realise-121043

Two pieces of software to help distinguish real from fake reviews are Fakespot.com and Reviewmeta.com. 

Moving to the credibility of authentic reviews, Bernard mentions the following  studies on how so-called netspeak as well as attractive user images affect the credibility of online reviews:

Lybaert, C., B. De Clerck, T. Loete, S. Depovere & K. Plevoets (in press) De impact van taal en gender in negatieve reviews: een experimentele studie naar gepercipieerde geloofwaardigheid en consumentengedrag. Tijdschrift voor Taalbeheersing.

Manganari, E. & E. Dimara (2017) Enhancing the impact of online hotel reviews through the use of emoticons. Behaviour & Information Technology 1-13

Ozanne, M., Liu, S. Q., & Mattila, A. S. (2019). Are attractive reviewers more persuasive? Examining the role of physical attractiveness in online reviews. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 36(6), 728-739. 

Our interview for this episode is with Camilla Vasquez. Some of her publications are:

Bridges, J., & Vásquez, C. (2018). If nearly all Airbnb reviews are positive, does that make them meaningless? Current Issues in Tourism, 21(18), 2057-2075. 

Vásquez, C. (2014). The Discourse of Online Consumer Reviews. London: Bloomsbury. 

Vásquez, C. (2019). Language, Creativity and Humour Online. New York: Routledge. 

In the final part of the episode, we analyse a Twitter thread that starts with one customer asking a company this mock question:

And to finish off, here are the two pop cultural references mentioned in the thread – feel free to tune out now and watch!

Listen to the episode here

Full transcription of the episode

References and Further Reading

Babić Rosario, A., Sotgiu, F., de Valck, K., & Bijmolt, T. H. A. (2016). The effect of electronic word of mouth on sales: A meta-analytic review of platform, product, and metric factors. Journal of Marketing Research, 53(3), 297-318.

Kim, K., Yoon, S., & Choi, Y. K. (2019). The effects of eWOM volume and valence on product sales – an empirical examination of the movie industry. International Journal of Advertising, 38(3), 471-488.

Luca, M., & Zervas, G. (2016). Fake it till you make it: Reputation, competition, and Yelp review fraud. Management Science, 62(12), 3412-3427.

Lybaert, C., B. De Clerck, T. Loete, S. Depovere & K. Plevoets (in press) De impact van taal en gender in negatieve reviews: een experimentele studie naar gepercipieerde geloofwaardigheid en consumentengedrag. Tijdschrift voor Taalbeheersing.

Manganari, E. & E. Dimara (2017) Enhancing the impact of online hotel reviews through the use of emoticons. Behaviour & Information Technology 1-13

Ozanne, M., Liu, S. Q., & Mattila, A. S. (2019). Are attractive reviewers more persuasive? Examining the role of physical attractiveness in online reviews. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 36(6), 728-739. 

Bridges, J., & Vásquez, C. (2018). If nearly all Airbnb reviews are positive, does that make them meaningless? Current Issues in Tourism, 21(18), 2057-2075. 

Vásquez, C. (2014). The Discourse of Online Consumer Reviews. London: Bloomsbury. 

Vásquez, C. (2019). Language, Creativity and Humour Online. New York: Routledge. 

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