Take Action

Home | Faculty & Research Overview | Research

Research Details

Reviews without a Purchase: Low Ratings, Loyal Customers and Evidence of Deception, Journal of Marketing Research


The authors document that approximately 5% of product reviews on a large private label retailer's website are submitted by customers with no record of ever purchasing the product they are reviewing. These reviews are significantly more negative than other reviews. They are also less likely to contain expressions describing the fit or feel of the items and more likely to contain linguistic cues associated with deception. More than 12,000 of the firm's best customers have written reviews without confirmed transactions. On average, these customers have each made more than 150 purchases from the firm. This makes it unlikely that the reviews were written by the employees or agents of a competitor and suggests that deceptive reviews may not be limited to the strategic actions of firms. Instead, the phenomenon may be far more prevalent, extending to individual customers who have no financial incentive to influence product ratings.




Eric T. Anderson, Duncan Simester

Date Published



Anderson, Eric T., and Duncan Simester. 2014. Reviews without a Purchase: Low Ratings, Loyal Customers and Evidence of Deception. Journal of Marketing Research.(3): 249-269.


Explore leading research and ideas

Find articles, podcast episodes, and videos that spark ideas in lifelong learners, and inspire those looking to advance in their careers.
learn more


Review Courses & Schedules

Access information about specific courses and their schedules by viewing the interactive course scheduler tool.


Discover the path to your goals

Whether you choose our Full-Time, Part-Time or Executive MBA program, you’ll enjoy the same unparalleled education, exceptional faculty and distinctive culture.
learn more