Trust building in wine blogs: a content analysis

James D. Doyle (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
Louise A. Heslop (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
Alex Ramirez (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
David Cray (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
Anahit Armenakyan (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)

International Journal of Wine Business Research

ISSN: 1751-1062

Publication date: 17 August 2012



The purpose of this paper is to identify trust‐building signals and signaling patterns of commercial and non‐commercial wine bloggers within a trustworthiness framework and assess prominence of balanced versus unbalanced resource‐based or compensatory approaches for the management of consumer trust beliefs and the facilitation of positive trust intentions.


Development and validation of theory‐based signal‐classification scheme and two‐stage content analysis of trust‐building signals embedded in wine blogs.


It is found that wine bloggers manage consumer trust beliefs using an unbalanced signaling approach emphasizing ability over character. Ability sub‐dimension signals vary by commercial orientation. Also, character signaling varies with commercial orientation.

Research limitations/implications

Only English‐language wine blogs were studied. Limitations of content analysis procedures preclude direct evaluation of signal efficacy in absolute or contextualized terms.

Practical implications

Bloggers must secure reader trustworthiness to be effective communicators. Readers are likely to possess latent concerns about the bias of commercial bloggers and abilities of non‐commercial ones. Bloggers recognize the importance of ability signaling but may not be fully exploiting their positions of perceived advantage nor fully compensating for their distinctive inherent perceived weaknesses.

Social implications

Trustworthiness signaling in wine blogs has implications for bloggers in other contexts, including consumer and non‐consumer information environments and not‐for‐profit and governmental communicators. Blog and blogger trustworthiness must be addressed by these communicators to effect audience persuasion.


The paper discusses deductive development and validation of a novel signal classification scheme applied to trust building by bloggers that, through analysis of signal content, sheds light on behavior of commercial and non‐commercial information sources in emerging product information environments.



Doyle, J., Heslop, L., Ramirez, A., Cray, D. and Armenakyan, A. (2012), "Trust building in wine blogs: a content analysis", International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 196-218.

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