(PhysOrg.com) -- Consumers increasingly rely on recommendations in online forums, such as Amazon.com and Angieslist.com, when deciding which products and services to buy. But, in most cases, they've never met the posters of these reviews.
Without traditional cues to assess the credibility of reviewers, people evaluate not only the content of opinions, but also the online behavior of posters, according to a recent article in the Journal of Marketing Research titled “Listening to Strangers.”
The study was conducted by Nicholas Lurie, assistant professor of marketing at Georgia Tech College of Management, and Allen Weiss and Deborah MacInnis, marketing professors at the University of Southern California.
"Imagine that you send an e-mail to members of your neighborhood association asking for recommendations for painters. How do you decide whose recommendation to trust?,” Lurie asks. “Our study suggests that you are likely to give greater weight to those who respond quickly, write a lengthy response, and engage you in a back-and-forth discussion.”
Imagine being able to search your friends' and neighbors' rolodexes of their trusted vendors! Wouldn't that be a powerful tool for selecting trusted local service providers!