Online Persuasion: How the Written Word Drives WOM - Evidence from Consumer-Generated Product Reviews

Consumer-generated product reviews are important sources of information for producers and consumers. This research includes two studies designed to investigate how language style, organizational structure, and other content features affect the perceived helpfulness of online product reviews.

Online Persuasion: How the Written Word Drives WOM – Evidence from Consumer-Generated Product Reviews

Jin Li

North Dakota State University

Lingjing Zhan

Hong Kong Polytechnic University


The phrase word-of-mouth (WOM) refers to “informal, person-to-person communication between a perceived noncommercial communicator and a receiver regarding a brand, a product, an organization, or a service” (Harrison-Walker, 2001). Compared to traditional marketing communication tools, WOM is perceived to be more trustworthy and relevant, is more likely to generate empathy, and can significantly reduce consumer resistance (Bickart and Schindler, 2001).

WOM has been described as “a dominant market force in...

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