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HOW INTERPERSONAL TRUST MANIFESTS ONLINE BEHAVIOR: A case study exploring the impact of societal levels of interpersonal trust on the utilization of online source credible information.
Unformatted Document Text:  How interpersonal trust manifests 11 limitations to actual product evaluation, make online decision making a highly uncertain process. Economic theory characterizes auctions as incomplete information games (Feldman and Mehra, 1992; Laffont, 1997), where information is exchanged between sellers and potential bidders, and between bidders and other bidders, in a process of price discovery that aims at the final sale of the product. In online auctions, sellers intend to maximize their final price, by indirectly communicating information about the product, and about their expected valuations through the website. Sellers provide information that range from mere textual information, to more detailed pictures, graphics, reserve prices and email addresses. The evaluation of the product to bid on is based on the seller specified information available on the web page accompanying the product. Buyers in a bid to maximize utility browse the seller specified information and make two important choices, firstly the product (or products) to bid on, and secondly the strategies to adopt to procure the product (Laffont, 1997). In choosing the product to bid on, potential buyers are faced with numerous competing and often complementary product listings. Since eBay does not perform a controlling or gatekeeping function, the evaluation of information and bidding decisions are left to the individual buyer judgments. EBay alone boasts of over 4320 categories listing over 4 million new auctions every day. Since each listing varies in terms of seller specified information, these situations involve considerable information overloads, resulting in bidders using certain pre- screening heuristics (Dholakia and Soltysinski, 2000) to expedite their allocation decision. Seller specified information is then a key factor in product choice, since

Authors: Vishwanath, Arun.
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How interpersonal trust manifests 11
limitations to actual product evaluation, make online decision making a highly
uncertain process. Economic theory characterizes auctions as incomplete
information games (Feldman and Mehra, 1992; Laffont, 1997), where information
is exchanged between sellers and potential bidders, and between bidders and other
bidders, in a process of price discovery that aims at the final sale of the product.
In online auctions, sellers intend to maximize their final price, by indirectly
communicating information about the product, and about their expected
valuations through the website. Sellers provide information that range from mere
textual information, to more detailed pictures, graphics, reserve prices and email
addresses. The evaluation of the product to bid on is based on the seller specified
information available on the web page accompanying the product.
Buyers in a bid to maximize utility browse the seller specified information
and make two important choices, firstly the product (or products) to bid on, and
secondly the strategies to adopt to procure the product (Laffont, 1997). In
choosing the product to bid on, potential buyers are faced with numerous
competing and often complementary product listings. Since eBay does not
perform a controlling or gatekeeping function, the evaluation of information and
bidding decisions are left to the individual buyer judgments. EBay alone boasts of
over 4320 categories listing over 4 million new auctions every day. Since each
listing varies in terms of seller specified information, these situations involve
considerable information overloads, resulting in bidders using certain pre-
screening heuristics (Dholakia and Soltysinski, 2000) to expedite their allocation
decision. Seller specified information is then a key factor in product choice, since


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