Reputation Star Society: Are star ratings consulted as substitute or complementary information?

Jurgen Willems, Carolin Waldner, John Ronquillo

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


To simplify decision making processes, online platforms frequently display reputation star ratings as an indication of the quality of a product, service, or organization. Can information provided by such star ratings draw away attention from other information? This is an important question for platform developers to adjust the use of such ratings. We conduct a between-subjects laboratory experiment (n = 121) where we manipulate the difference between the reputation star ratings of two social profit organizations, and ask respondents to indicate which organization they prefer. Applying eye-tracking technology, we analyze how the visual attention between the treatment conditions differs. Our findings show that reputation star ratings are consulted as complementary information, rather than as substitute information. Moreover, the results suggest that the lack of stars – not the presence of more stars – attracts visual attention.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDecision Support Systems (DSS)
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 102 not use (legacy)
  • 505027 Administrative studies
  • 211903 Science of management
  • 502019 Marketing
  • 502023 NPO research
  • 509 not use (legacy)
  • 605005 Audience research


  • Decision-making
  • Eye-tracking
  • Online reputation systems
  • Star ratings
  • experiment

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