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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R33R0Q477

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Anonymous and Pseudo-Anonymous Behaviors Online: Are Full Identities Truly Better? Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
Internet
Pseudonyms
Anonymity
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Smirnov, Kristen
Supervisor and department
Pracejus, John (Business)
Examining committee member and department
Häubl, Gerald (Business)
King, Sharla (Educational Psychology)
Moore, Sarah (Business)
Messinger, Paul (Business)
Department
Faculty of Business
Specialization
Marketing
Date accepted
2013-09-30T15:57:16Z
Graduation date
2013-11
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
In discussions of identity in online environments, the current momentum in both academic literature and industry practices pushes toward full identity revelation. Along with market-driven justifications, there is also a stated belief that revealing one's identity will lead to better behavior toward others, and in general. This has a long history of support in computing, psychology, and economics literature, but these investigations have examined full identities relative to completely anonymous behaviors. To do so ignores a third option: that of a persistent pseudonym which gains investment and reputation over time. This dissertation examines the difference between real identities and pseudonyms (versus anonymous behavior) in two series of studies centered upon the production of product reviews. In them, I expect to find a short period of investment into pseudonymous identities after which they perform at quality levels equal to those people using their real names, as they now feel accountable to this secondary identity. Real-world product review data from Amazon.com was collected and two laboratory studies were run. It was found that in situations of voluntary identity disclosure, the investment period was much longer than anticipated. However, during mandatory identity disclosure, real name users suffered strong performance penalties that were generally avoided by those reviewers using a pseudonym. Potential explanations are offered and future research questions are identified.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R33R0Q477
Rights
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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Last modified: 2015:10:12 19:42:29-06:00
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File author: Kristen Smirnov
Page count: 118
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