There is no smoke without fire: How frequency information and the experience attribution make negative online restaurant reviews more harmful
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The paper proposes and evidences that a more frequent mentioning of a service issue in an online restaurant review makes the readers blame the restaurant more for the issue. This inside attribution, in turn, may worsen the restaurant evaluation. Two experiments (Study 1 and 2) examine this mechanism using different stimuli. In both experiments, consumers exposed to high (vs. low) mentioning-frequency reviews attributed the issue more inside the restaurant and evaluated the restaurant lower. Additionally, the paper considers the role of consumer analytical processing (Study 1) and perceived review helpfulness (Study 2) in the relationships between mentioning frequency and issue attribution. The paper extends the existing literature by applying the attribution theory to the context of frequency information in online reviews. The results guide marketers dealing with negative online reviews by suggesting the way to deal with high-mentioning-frequency negative reviews.