Message Characteristics in Online Product Reviews and Consumer Ratings of Helpfulness

Yuhua (Jake) Liang, Brianna N. DeAngelis, David D. Clare, Sam M. Dorros, Timothy R. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Consumers often rate online product reviews in terms of helpfulness. To explore the linguistic features that may contribute to helpfulness ratings, a linguistic inquiry and word count analysis compared 377 helpful and unhelpful product reviews, showing that helpful and unhelpful reviews differed across 23 of 67 linguistic categories. Results also suggested a consumer preference for messages that contain objective characteristics and high-quality arguments. A follow-up study tested hypothesized relationships among helpfulness ratings and review relevance, descriptiveness, and evaluation discrepancy. The data showed that descriptive reviews were rated as helpful. Implications, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-483
Number of pages16
JournalSouthern Communication Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 20 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Southern States Communication Association.

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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