Presentation Title

Threatening Products and Threats to the Social Contract in Consumer Review Forums

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Abstract or Description

Suspicion regarding dishonest electronic word-of-mouth is a growing concern for online consumers. Individual consumers are occasionally seen acting as product review forum ‘watchdogs’ within the websites they visit; posting vigilante comments against reviews they perceive to be fraudulent. This study investigates consumer ‘watchdog comments,’ and the way in which ego-threatening product categories themselves may actually induce a prosecutorial mindset, leading to greater levels of suspicion towards positive online product reviews and the impulse to prosecute potential fraudsters. A content analysis of actual reviews and consumer commentary indicates that the occurrence of ‘watchdog comments' is more common within ego-threatening product categories.


Association of Marketing Theory and Practice Annual Conference (AMTP)


Hilton Head, SC