Exploratory Study on Anchoring: Fake Vote Counts in Consumer Reviews Affect Judgments of Information Quality
Popular products in online stores often have overwhelming numbers of reviews. To help consumers identity quality reviews, (Site 1) crowdsources this decision by asking consumers to vote on the helpfulness of reviews. Many studies assume these votes reflect the information quality of a review, but this does not account for the influence of fake votes. This study investigates whether fake votes influence judgments of review information quality. From controlled questionnaires given to 294 consumers, we found that fake vote counts could completely reverse judgments of information quality in both directions. Specifically, fake votes affected consumers' processes of purchase decision-making and product research. Overall, fake votes changed both review judgments and purchase behaviors.