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Unveiling user-generated content: Designing websites to best present customer reviews


  • Liu, Qianqian (Ben)
  • Karahanna, Elena
  • Watson, Richard T.


Online customer reviews are an important type of user-generated content, through which consumers share their experiences with products and services in order to help others make informed purchasing decisions. In this article, we discuss the goals of online customer reviews and develop practical, actionable principles that can be used to improve the presentations of customer reviews. We identify four goals--two ultimate, and two intermediate--of online customer reviews. The two ultimate goals are: (1) to assist consumers in making accurate choices, and (2) to reduce the cognitive costs of making such choices. The two intermediate goals are: (1) to help consumers form an unbiased understanding of the product, and (2) to construct a set of evaluative criteria. Drawing on the constructive view of consumer judgment and choice, we present a conceptual model of online-review based consumer judgment and choice. We report principles that will improve the presentation of reviews, and discuss the benefits of the new design over the traditional presentation of online reviews.

Suggested Citation

  • Liu, Qianqian (Ben) & Karahanna, Elena & Watson, Richard T., 2011. "Unveiling user-generated content: Designing websites to best present customer reviews," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 231-240, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:bushor:v:54:y:2011:i:3:p:231-240

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Payne, John W & Bettman, James R & Schkade, David A, 1999. "Measuring Constructed Preferences: Towards a Building Code," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 243-270, December.
    2. Bettman, James R & Luce, Mary Frances & Payne, John W, 1998. " Constructive Consumer Choice Processes," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(3), pages 187-217, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mangold, W. Glynn & Smith, Katherine Taken, 2012. "Selling to Millennials with online reviews," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 141-153.
    2. repec:eee:joinma:v:26:y:2012:i:2:p:102-113 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Annaluce Latorre & Maria Vernuccio, 2013. "Ridurre il rischio percepito e generare fiducia nello shopping online attraverso gli User Generated Content," MERCATI E COMPETITIVITÀ, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2013(1), pages 143-163.


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