Online review helpfulness: Impact of reviewer profile image

Sahar Karimi, Fang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

165 Citations (Scopus)
1376 Downloads (Pure)


Despite the growing number of studies on online reviews, the impact of visual cues on consumer's evaluation of review helpfulness has remained underexplored. It is not yet known whether and how images influence the way online reviews are perceived. This paper introduces and empirically examines the potential effects of reviewer profile image, a photo/image displayed next to the reviewer name, on review helpfulness by drawing on the decorative and information functions of images. With a sample of 2178 reviews from mobile gaming applications, we report that reviewer profile image can significantly enhance consumer's evaluation of review helpfulness; whereas there is no differential effect among image types (i.e. self, family, or random images). Interestingly, the effect of reviewer profile image on review helpfulness is moderated by review length, but not review valence and equivocality. Results suggest that reviewer profile image enhances the perception of review helpfulness by serving mainly as a visual decoration that creates affective responses rather than identity information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalDecision Support Systems
Early online date5 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • Decorative images
  • Identity information
  • Online reviews
  • Review helpfulness
  • Reviewer image
  • Reviewer profile image


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