Review Updating: How consumers can change their mind

Yaniv Dover, Martina Pocchiari, Verena Barbara Schoenmueller

Research output: Conference paperContribution


While past research assumes that reviews are static - i.e., that the opinion of the reviewer is unchangeable - we investigate an alternative approach for companies to manage consumer opinions: updating existing reviews. In this study, we first demonstrate that consumers appear to change their opinion over time, and indeed update their existing reviews. Second, we ask whether platform-level nudges (e.g., update reminders) are effective at soliciting review updates. Third, we rely on past research on the motives that drive consumers to create online reviews (Berger, 2014), and investigate whether decisions to update are heterogeneous across review types. More specifically, we investigate whether reviews originally expressing emotion-regulation motives - such as receiving an apology for a service failure - are differentially prone to updates, compared to reviews expressing information-acquisition motives - such as seeking assistance from customer service, or solving a technical problem. We answer these questions using a unique dataset of online reviews from the platform On, consumers can post reviews about any product or service across hundreds of product categories - including food delivery, transport, telecommunications, e-commerce, and clothing. The dataset includes 3,147,668 customer reviews, created by 1,814,004 reviewers from 253 countries, and spans the period from the creation of the website to the present (2007-2022). The reviews cover products and services offered by 53,771 companies in 155 product categories. In addition to the original reviews, we observe: (i) whether, when, and how each customer decided to update their original review; (ii) whether and when the reviewer received a response from the company on the platform; and (iii) a preferred solution - a text describing the proposed set of managerial actions that the consumer would like to experience during the customer-relationship recovery phase. Finally, we observe several user- and company-level characteristics. With this study, we contribute to the literature on online reviews, by investigating whether reviews (and thus, consumers' opinions and attitudes) can change over time. We are the first to propose that reviews posted on online platforms can be dynamic, and show that a substantial number of reviewers change their opinion - and thus their reviews - over time. We demonstrate that platform solicitations can be a useful tool to encourage review update dynamics. We also contribute to previous literature on online reviews with evidence that reviewers with different initial motivations to post (emotional vs. utilitarian) are differentially likely to update their reviews in the future. Our findings thus also offer important implications for companies on how to interact with negative consumer reviews, how to mitigate their potential harm on ratings, and which types of reviewers to prioritize with potential review updating interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2023
Event45th ISMS Marketing Science Conference 2023 - Miami
Duration: 7 Jun 202310 Jun 2023


Conference45th ISMS Marketing Science Conference 2023


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