Journal of Business and Economic Development

Submit a Manuscript

Publishing with us to make your research visible to the widest possible audience.

Propose a Special Issue

Building a community of authors and readers to discuss the latest research and develop new ideas.

An Empirical Comparison of the Credibility on Customer Online Reviews and Product Tester Reviews

Especially when buying products online, the only information available is either from the manufacturer or from customers in the form of online reviews. Due to the increasing importance of online reviews, Amazon has a product tester program that writes product tester reviews in addition to previous customer online reviews. This study investigates the credibility of product tester reviews in the three core dimensions of credibility – competence, trustworthiness, and attractiveness. The authors compare customer reviews with product tester reviews in terms of their perceived credibility. Also, it is investigated whether the valence of the online reviews influences the credibility assessment. Based on an online experiment, a 2x2 between-subject-design is developed in an empirical analysis to gain empirical insights into the credibility of online reviews. The empirical analysis suggests the following main findings. Customers as authors of online reviews are rated as more credible. The authors of customer online reviews are perceived more competent, trustworthy and attractive by recipients compared to product testers. The valence of online reviews has no influence, except for the credibility dimension trustworthiness. The findings of this study enrich previous literature by showing online platforms with rating systems how customer reviews and product tester reviews are perceived by customers.

Online Review, Credibility Dimensions, Product Tester Review, Customer Review, Source Credibility Model, Valence

APA Style

Nadine Ampler, Nina Lehmann-Zschunke. (2023). An Empirical Comparison of the Credibility on Customer Online Reviews and Product Tester Reviews. Journal of Business and Economic Development, 8(2), 56-68.

ACS Style

Nadine Ampler; Nina Lehmann-Zschunke. An Empirical Comparison of the Credibility on Customer Online Reviews and Product Tester Reviews. J. Bus. Econ. Dev. 2023, 8(2), 56-68. doi: 10.11648/j.jbed.20230802.14

AMA Style

Nadine Ampler, Nina Lehmann-Zschunke. An Empirical Comparison of the Credibility on Customer Online Reviews and Product Tester Reviews. J Bus Econ Dev. 2023;8(2):56-68. doi: 10.11648/j.jbed.20230802.14

Copyright © 2023 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

1. Steffes, E. M. & Burgee, L. E. (2009). Social ties and online word of mouth. Internet Research 19 (1): 42–59.
2. Goldberg, M. E. & Hartwick, J. (1990). The effects of advertiser reputation and extremity of advertising claim on advertising effectiveness. Journal of Consumer Research 17 (2): 172–179.
3. Wathen, C. N. & Burkell, J. (2002). Believe it or not: Factors influencing credibility on the web. Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology 53 (2): 134–144.
4. Filieri, R., Mcleay, F., Tsui, B. & Lin, Z. (2018). Consumer perceptions of information helpfulness and determinants of purchase intention in online consumer reviews of services. Information and Management 55 (8): 956–970.
5. Smith, D., Menon, S. & Sivakumar, K. (2005). Online peer and editorial recommendations, trust, and choice in virtual markets. Journal of Interactive Marketing 19 (3): 15–37.
6. Mudambi, S. M. & Schuff, D. (2010). What makes a helpful online review? A study of customer reviews on Management Information Systems Quarterly 34 (1): 185–200.
7. Kim, R. Y. (2020). When does online review matter to consumers? The effect of product quality information cues. Electronic Commerce Research 21: 1011–1030.
8. Murugan, S. & Nagarajan, P. S. (2017). Credibility perceptions of user generated content. Journal of Business Management & Social Sciences Research 6 (11): 118–121.
9. Edwards, S. (2006). From the guest editor: Special issue on electronic Word of Mouth and its relationship with advertising, marketing, and communication. Journal of Interactive Advertising 6 (2): 1–2.
10. Chae, I, Stephen, A. T., Bart, Y. & Yao, D. (2017). Spillover Effects in Seeded Word-of-Mouth Marketing Campaigns. Marketing Science 36 (1): 89–104.
11. Driehaus, C. (2020). Produktbewertungen auf Amazon: Relevanz und Handlungsfelder für Unternehmen. In Stummeyer, C. & Köber, B. (Eds.), Amazon für Entscheider: 235–258.
12. Amazon. (2022). What is Amazon Vine? [online] (accessed 16 July 2022).
13. Cheung, M. Y., Luo, C., Sia, C. L. & Chen, H. (2007). How do people evaluate electronic word-of-mouth? Informational and normative based determinants of perceived credibility of online consumer recommendations in china. Proceedings of the Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS): 69–81.
14. Wilson, E. J. & Sherrell, D. L. (1993). Source effects in communication and persuasion research: A meta-analysis of effect size. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 21 (2): 101–112.
15. Eisend, M. (2006). Source credibility in marketing communication – A meta-analysis. Marketing – Journal of Research and Management 2 (1): 43–60.
16. Twyman, N. W., Elkins, A. C., Burgoon, J. K. & Nunamaker, J F. (2014). A Rigidity Detection System for Automated Credibility Assessment. Journal of Management Information Systems 31 (1): 173–202.
17. Tormala, Z. L. & Petty, R. E. (2008). Source Credibility and Attitude Certainty: A Metacognitive Analysis of Resistance to Persuasion. Journal of Consumer Psychology 14 (4): 427–442.
18. Hovland, C. I. & Weiss, W. (1951). The influence of source credibility on communication effectiveness. The Public Opinion Quarterly 15 (4): 635–650.
19. Ohanian, R. (1990). Construction and validation of a scale to measure celebrity endorsers' perceived expertise, trustworthiness, and attractiveness. Journal of Advertising 19 (3): 39–52.
20. Tseng, S. & Fogg, B. J. (1999). Credibility and computing technology – Users want to trust, and generally do. But that trust is undermined, often forever, when the system delivers erroneous information. Communication of the ACM 42 (5): 39–44.
21. Wirth, W. (1999). Methodologische und konzeptionelle Aspekte der Glaubwürdigkeitsforschung. In Rössler, P. & Wirth, W. (Eds.), Glaubwürdigkeit im Internet: 47–66.
22. Singletary, M. W. (1976). Components of credibility of a favorable news source. Journalism Quarterly 53 (2): 316–319.
23. Baker, M. J. & Churchill, G. A. (1977). The impact of physically attractive models on advertising evaluations. Journal of Marketing Research 14 (4): 538–555.
24. Canning, L. & West, D. (2015). The celebrity spokesorganization. In Deeter-Schmelz, D. R. (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2010 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference: 313.
25. Ohanian, R. (1991). The impact of celebrity spokespersons perceived image on consumers’ intention to purchase. Journal of Advertising Research 31 (1): 46–54.
26. O’Hara, B. S., Netmeyer, R. G. & Burton, S. (1991). An examination of the relative effect of source expertise, truthworthiness, and likability. Social Behavior and Personality 19 (4): 305–314.
27. Kim, K., Cheong, Y. & Kim, H. (2017). User-generated product reviews on the internet: the drivers and outcomes of the perceived usefulness of product reviews. International Journal of Advertising 36 (2): 227–245.
28. Huang, J.-H. & Chen, Y.-F. (2006). Herding in online product choice. Psychology & Marketing 23 (5): 413–428.
29. DeSarbo, W. S. & Harshman, R. A. (1985). Celebrity-brand congruence analysis. Current Issues & Research in Advertising 8 (2): 17–52.
30. McGuire, W. J. (1985). Attitudes and Attitude Change. In Gardner, L. & Aronson, E. (Eds.), Handbook of Social Psychology: 233–246.
31. Lafferty, B. A. & Goldsmith, R. E. (1999). Corporate credibility's role in consumers' attitudes and purchase intentions when a high versus a low credibility endorser is used in the ad. Journal of Business Research 44 (2): 109–116.
32. Lascu, D.-N., Bearden, W. O. & Rose, R. L. (1995). Norm extremity and interpersonal influences on consumer conformity. Journal of Business Research 32 (3): 201–212.
33. Mackiewicz, J., Yeats, D. & Thornton, T. (2016). The impact of review environment on review credibility. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication 59 (2): 71–88.
34. Fan, Y.-W. & Miao, Y.-F. (2012). Effect of electronic word-of-mouth on consumer purchase intention: the perspective of gender differences. International Journal of Electronic Business Management 10 (3): 175–181.
35. Friedman, H. H., Santeramo, M. J. & Traina, A. (1978). Correlates of trustworthiness for celebrities. Journal of Academy of Marketing Science 6 (4): 291–299.
36. Mackiewicz, J. (2007). Reviewer bias and credibility in online reviews. Proceedings of the 2007 Association for Business Communication Annual Convention: 1–8.
37. Flanagin, A. J., Metzger, M. J., Pure, R., Markov, A. & Hartsell, E. (2014). Mitigating risk in ecommerce transactions: perceptions of information credibility and the role of user-generated ratings in product quality and purchase intention. Electronic Commerce Research 14 (1): 1–23.
38. Forman, C., Ghose, A. & Wiesenfeld, B. (2008). Examining the relationship between reviews and sales: The role of reviewer identity disclosure in electronic markets. Information Systems Research 19 (3): 291–313.
39. Sen, S. & Lerman, D. (2007). Why are you telling me this? An examination into negative consumer reviews on the web. Journal of Interactive Marketing 21 (4): 76–94.
40. Reichelt, J., Sievert, J. & Jacob, F. (2014). How credibility affects eWOM reading: The influences of expertise, trustworthiness, and similarity on utilitarian and social functions. Journal of Marketing Communications 20 (1/2): 65–81.
41. Lopes, A. I., Dens, N. & De Pelsmacker, P. (2022). Valence and attribute repetition in negative sets of online reviews: (When) can positive reviews overcome negative ones? Journal of Electronic Commerce Research 23 (1): 1–12.
42. Bonabeau, E. (2004). The perils of the imitation age. Harvard Business Review 82 (6): 45–54.
43. Ba, S. & Pavlou, P. A. (2002). Evidence of the effect of trust building technology in electronic markets: Price Premiums and Buyer Behavior. Management Information Systems Quarterly 26 (3): 243–268.
44. Hennig-Thurau, F. T., Gwinner, K. P., Walsh, G. & Gremler, D. D. (2004). Electronic word-of-mouth via consumer-opinion platforms: What motivates consumers to articulate themselves on the internet? Journal of Interactive Marketing 18 (1): 38–52.
45. Feick, L. & Higie, R. A. (1992). The effects of preference heterogeneity and source characteristics on ad processing and judgements about endorsers. Journal of Advertising 21 (2): 9–24.
46. Homans, G. C. (1958). Social Behavior as Exchange. American Journal of Sociology 63 (6): 597–606.
47. Banerjee, S., Bhattacharyya, S. & Bose, I., 1992. Whose online reviews to trust? Understanding reviewer trustworthiness and its impact on business. Decision Support Systems 96 (2): 17–26.
48. Festinger, L. (1962). Cognitive dissonance. Scientific American 207 (4): 93–107.
49. Dorst, F., Phieler, U., Haenlein, M. & Libai, B. (2019). Seeding as part of the marketing mix: word-of-mouth program interactions for fast-moving consumer goods. Journal of Marketing 83 (2): 62–81.
50. Bearden, W. O., Netemeyer R. G. & Teel, J. E. (1989). Measurement of consumer susceptibility to interpersonal influence. Journal of Consumer Research 15 (4): 473–481.
51. Chaiken, S. (1979). Communicator physical attractiveness and persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37: 1387–1397.
52. Schlereth, C., Barrot, C., Skiera, B. & Takac, C. (2013). Optimal product-sampling strategies in social networks: How many and whom to target? International Journal of Electronic Commerce 18 (1): 45–72.
53. Xia, L. & Bechwati, N. N. (2008). Word of mouse: The role of cognitive personalization in online consumer reviews. Journal of Interactive Advertising 9 (1): 108–128.
54. Brosius, F. (2013). SPSS 21. mitp-Verlag. Germany.