Many content providers still struggle to establish viable revenue models on the Internet and thus try to tap new sources of income. Using content to drive sales of related products or services such as in affiliate marketing or content-driven commerce appears to be a promising solution for this issue. However, these commerce-oriented revenue models may cast doubt on the credibility of the content, which is an important success factor for the providers. Drawing upon credibility concepts and information processing theories from communication science, we conducted a vignette-based online experiment to investigate whether content credibility is affected by the provider’s revenue model. Participants in the experiment were shown a screenshot of a website, which was monetized either by advertising, affiliate marketing or content-driven commerce. Our results indicate that content credibility in the affiliate marketing scenario was higher than in the content-driven commerce or the advertising scenario. A mediation analysis revealed that this effect was mediated by the content provider’s trustworthiness. Our findings shed light on the relationship between credibility and monetization of content on the Internet. Moreover, they are helpful for practitioners in the media industry in designing optimal revenue generation strategies.
Berger, Benedikt, "TO BELIEVE OR NOT TO BELIEVE – INVESTIGATING THE EFFECT OF COMMERCE-ORIENTED MEDIA REVENUE MODELS ON CONTENT CREDIBILITY" (2016). PACIS 2016 Proceedings. 257.