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Investigation of electronic-word-of-mouth on online social networking sites written by authors with commercial interest

Wee-Kheng Tan (Department of Information Management, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
Bo-Yuan Lee (Department of Multimedia and M-Commerce, Kainan University, Luzhu, Taiwan)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 3 December 2018

Issue publication date: 17 May 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the credibility assessment and adoption of electronic word-of-mouth on online social-networking sites, social word-of-mouth (sWOM), where the author writes product reviews on Facebook and hopes their Facebook friends will buy these products. The readers of the sWOM message are aware of the author’s commercial intentions. sWOM messages on search goods and experience goods are considered separately.


Author of sWOM messages invites their closed circle of Facebook friends to participate in a survey. The respondents are randomly assigned to read a product review of a search good (i.e. a laptop computer) or an experience good (i.e. a moisturizer cream (beauty product)). The partial least squares method is used to analyze the data from 339 returns (166 for the search good and 173 for the experience good).


The sWOM readers’ assessments of the messages’ credibility remain free from commercial influence. While the traditional factors of credibility and author-reader tie strength continue to influence the adoption of sWOM message, readers’ perceptions of the sWOM author’s marketing skills is also a factor. The relationships between the constructs depend on whether the products are search or experience goods.


Few studies investigate the type of sWOM considered here. Commercially influenced sWOM messages are effective since the author’s marketing skills, and other often-cited factors, affect the credibility and adoption of sWOM. Thus, the equality-matching (friendship) relationship and the market-pricing (sales) relationship can work hand-in-hand in the sWOM context.



Tan, W.-K. and Lee, B.-Y. (2019), "Investigation of electronic-word-of-mouth on online social networking sites written by authors with commercial interest", Online Information Review, Vol. 43 No. 3, pp. 462-480.



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