Polarity, subjectivity and emotionality of feedback texts: the influence on sales and price premiums in online cryptomarkets
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Online reputation systems serve to overcome the problem of cooperation in online market exchanges, which arises as a consequence of information asymmetries between sellers and buyers. In principle, buyers do not know whether sellers are trustworthy and will ship a product after a buyer has paid. Online reputation systems enable buyers to inquire information on prior behaviour of the seller through reading experiences of other market participants, either expressed in numerical ratings or feedback texts. Buyers can then determine the seller’s reputation and whether the seller is trustworthy enough to engage with in economic exchange. These issues of trust are even more applicable for illegal (crypto)markets, as these lack legal, organizational, social and moral guarantees legal markets tend to have for stimulating trust and cooperation. It is yet unknown to what extent the feedback text characteristics polarity, subjectivity and emotionality are of impact on the success of sellers in online illegal cryptomarkets. In our study we show that in cryptomarket AlphaBay, feedback texts with high subjectivity received by a seller leads to more sales of a seller, yet not to more price premiums, while texts with high polarity and emotionality have no effect on either measure of success. While the numerical ratings also show no effect, the reputation measures constructed by the market administrators do prove to be of effect on the sales of a seller. This could spark interest for future research to take into account the institutional measures more, additional to the user-based qualitative and quantitative feedback measures. Our findings contribute to the knowledge of online reputation systems, by uncovering new ground through focusing on the direct and moderating effects of text characteristics of feedback texts on the success of a seller.