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Mariska Verstappen wins Leeflang Thesis Prize | research about online reviews

11 March 2014

With her thesis “ How reviews are reviewed: The impact of readability and social factors on the usefulness of online consumer reviews ”, Mariska Verstappen has won the Leeflang Thesis Prize 2014 awarded by the department of Marketing of the Faculty of Economics and Business. This prize for the best marketing thesis written by a University of Groningen student has been awarded annually since 2002. The winner receives 1000 euros.

Mariska Verstappen was awarded the prize by professor Peter Leeflang on 5 March, at the MARUG congress, the Marketing Association of the University of Groningen. The thesis will be the Groningen entry for the National Marketing thesis prize.

Without spelling errors


Mariska conducted research into the impact of online reviews and looked specifically at the readability and the extent to which the reader and writer are alike. She found that customers find reviews especially useful when they are written in a clear structure and without spelling errors. Moreover, reviews posted by a person of the same gender and age and from the same country as the reader, are considered more useful.

“Both academically and practically relevant”

The jury report recounts: “Mariska Verstappen investigates in her thesis an interesting topic that is relevant from both an academic and a practical point of view. The research has been carried out among a sample of real customers and ends with clear and concrete conclusions. The jury believes that this thesis has a good chance to win the National Marketing thesis prize.”

The jury consisted of Peter C. Verhoef (jury chairman and head of department), Tom Wilms (EffectiveBrands), Edwin Kooge, Jaap E. Wieringa (professor FEB), Jenny van Doorn (jury secretary and associate professor at FEB).

Leeflang prize

The thesis prize was established in 2002, in honour of the 25-year jubilee of Prof. dr. P.S.H. Leeflang, Frank M. Bass professor of Marketing at FEB.  This year, 5 theses were nominated as candidates; the thesis of Nhat LE Quang with the title “The effects of employee-customer interface on customer satisfaction and WOM intentions in a customer-contact center “ and Age Huitema’s thesis “The reward, the experience, or the rewarding experience? Identifying customer segments using drivers of (non-) participation in short-term loyalty programs” were also among the top 3 and received an honorable mention.

Note for the press

For more information: dr. Jenny van Doorn, jurymember

Last modified:04 July 2014 9.39 p.m.
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