BWL XI: Paper at ICIS 2019
Title: The Longer the Better? The Interplay Between Review Length and Line of Argumentation in Online Consumer Reviews
Authors: Bernhard Lutz (University of Freiburg), Nicolas Pröllochs, Dirk Neumann (University of Freiburg)
Review helpfulness serves as focal point in understanding customers' purchase decision-making process on online retailer platforms. An overwhelming majority of previous works find longer reviews to be more helpful than short reviews. In this paper, we propose that longer reviews should not be assumed to be uniformly more helpful; instead, we argue that the effect depends on the line of argumentation in the review text. To test this idea, we use a large dataset of customer reviews from Amazon in combination with a state-of-the-art approach from natural language processing that allows us to study argumentation lines at sentence level. Our empirical analysis suggests that the frequency of argumentation changes moderates the effect of review length on helpfulness. Altogether, we disprove the prevailing narrative that longer reviews are uniformly perceived as more helpful. Our findings allow retailer platforms to improve their customer feedback systems and to feature more useful product reviews.