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Does the crowdfunding platform matter? Risks of negative attitudes in two-sided markets

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Purpose Crowdfunding offers a popular means to raise donations online from many contributors. Open calls for contributions involve another actor too, namely, the Internet platform that maintains the two-sided market. This article examines the effect of this intermediary on contributors’ willingness to participate in crowdfunding projects. Design/methodology/approach An online survey measures the relative effect of contributors’ attitudes toward the crowdfunding platform on two key behaviours: willingness to share word of mouth and willingness to participate in a project. Findings Using the theoretical framework of a two-sided market, the empirical study reveals that attitudes toward a crowdfunding platform moderate contributors’ willingness to participate, due to several risk factors that affect the platform’s perceived usefulness and ease of use. These factors have negative influences on attitude toward the platform, which reduces support for the project. The effects are stronger for willingness to participate than for word-of-mouth intentions. Research limitations/implications Declarative measures and a focus on the utilitarian dimensions of contributor participation limit the external validity of the findings. Practical implications With the results of this study, Internet platforms can find ways to improve the attitudes of potential contributors. Project creators can use the findings to adapt their communication campaigns and reduce inhibitions that keep contributors from using platforms. Originality/value This study advances marketing and crowdfunding literature by highlighting the potential dark side of a platform that functions as an intermediary in a two-sided market.
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Journal of Consumer Marketing
Does the crowdfunding platform matter? Risks of negative attitudes in two-sided markets
Camille Lacan, Pierre Desmet,
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Camille Lacan, Pierre Desmet, (2017) "Does the crowdfunding platform matter? Risks of negative attitudes in two-sided
markets", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 34 Issue: 6, pp.472-479, https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-03-2017-2126
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Does the crowdfunding platform matter?
Risks of negative attitudes in
two-sided markets
Camille Lacan
Paris-Dauphine University, PSL Research University, Paris, France, and
Pierre Desmet
Paris-Dauphine University, PSL Research University, Paris, France and ESSEC Business School, Cergy-Pontoise, France
Abstract
Purpose – Crowdfunding offers a popular means to raise donations online from many contributors. Open calls for contributions involve another
actor too, namely, the internet platform that maintains the two-sided market. This paper aims to examine the effect of this intermediary on
contributors’ willingness to participate in crowdfunding projects.
Design/methodology/approach – An online survey measures the relative effect of contributors’ attitudes towards the crowdfunding platform on
two key behaviours: willingness to share word-of-mouth and willingness to participate in a project.
Findings – Using the theoretical framework of a two-sided market, the empirical study reveals that attitudes towards a crowdfunding platform
moderate contributors’ willingness to participate due to several risk factors that affect the platform’s perceived usefulness and ease of use. These
factors have negative influences on attitude towards the platform, which reduces support for the project. The effects are stronger for willingness
to participate than for word-of-mouth intentions.
Research limitations/implications – Declarative measures and a focus on the utilitarian dimensions of contributor participation limit the external
validity of the findings.
Practical implications – With the results of this study, internet platforms can find ways to improve the attitudes of potential contributors. Project
creators can use the findings to adapt their communication campaigns and reduce inhibitions that keep contributors from using platforms.
Originality/value – This study advances marketing and crowdfunding literature by highlighting the potential dark side of a platform that functions
as an intermediary in a two-sided market.
Keywords Platform, Word-of-mouth, Crowdfunding, Sharing economy, Two-sided market
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
In an online crowdfunding initiative, a project creator appeals
to a large number of potential contributors for financial
support, using specific internet platforms that publicise the
request and specify the compensation available for different
contribution levels (Belleflamme et al., 2014). This
mechanism offers creators new possibilities for developing
innovative products and services (Vander Schee, 2009).
Although still considered nascent, crowdfunding grows
exponentially. In 2010, the worldwide market was $880m,
whereas it generated an estimated $34.2bn in 2015 (see the
Massolution Report 2016, available at: www.
crowdsourcing.org), and all indications suggest that it
continues to grow significantly in the coming years (e.g. the
World Bank expects the market to be worth $96bn by 2025).
To raise funds, project creators rely on an internet platform
to present their project and attracts contributors already
visiting the platform. So, the system constitutes a two-sided
market, in which the “platform enables interactions between
end-users and [tries] to get the two (or multiple) sides ‘on
board’ by appropriately charging each side” (Rochet and
Tirole, 2006, p. 645). In a two-sided market, the platform
functions as a central intermediary, in addition to performing
traditional communication roles. For project creators, aside
from communication and relationship with its members the
platform also acts as a service provider, such that it might
contribute resources required to finalise the project or provide
support and advices for marketing mix decisions.
Furthermore, it organises the contractual relationships
between the project creator and contributors and collects
payments from the contributors depending of the
crowdfunding modes (such as giving, reward-based, lending,
or equity).
Beyond these services, a platform in a two-sided market
functions as a place of social connections that enables project
creators to access a social capital of contributors. Social capital
refers to “the sum of the actual and potential resources
embedded within, available through, and derived from the
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on
Emerald Insight at: www.emeraldinsight.com/0736-3761.htm
Journal of Consumer Marketing
34/6 (2017) 472–479
© Emerald Publishing Limited [ISSN 0736-3761]
[DOI 10.1108/JCM-03-2017-2126]
Received 3 March 2017
Revised 2 June 2017
Accepted 5 July 2017
472
Downloaded by UNIVERSITE PARIS DAUPHINE At 08:02 20 September 2017 (PT)
network of relationships possessed by an individual or social
unit” (Nahapiet and Ghoshal, 1998, p. 243). The platform
makes it possible to develop social connections by providing
relationship with the platform’s community (i.e. social capital
provided by the platform). For a project creator having an
internal social capital (i.e. social relations developed within the
platform) is important because it forms the foundation of the
first contributors to participate in the project (Colombo et al.,
2015). This function of social connections acquisition is direct
because it is carried out using the platform: a project creator
can present, document and support its project on the platform
and can interact with the contributors and more generally with
the platform users (Mollick, 2014). Acquiring social
connections through the platform is also indirect by
word-of-mouth communications (Ferguson, 2008).
Individuals share information about a project or a project
creator by word-of-mouth communications, and this
communication can develop the project creator awareness and
expand the social connections around the project.
Despite the growing prominence of crowdfunding,
improving campaign success rates is a key challenge as fewer
than half of all crowdfunding campaigns succeed (Hu et al.,
2015). Amount of social capital provided by the internet
platform is a key of success (Colombo et al., 2015), and the
characteristics of the social capital brought by the platform
plays major role. This capital can be broad and
undifferentiated, as on generalist platforms (e.g. Kickstarter)
or reflect of specific interests related to either the project
content (e.g. music projects, sports and culture) or interests
for other characteristics of the project or the creator
(community, geographic proximity). As a crowdfunding
project is presented on only one platform its success requires
not only a positive attitude towards the project itself but also
a positive attitude from potential contributors towards the
internet platform used. Previous research has already
addressed success factors related to the description of the
project on the platform (e.g. presence and quality of a video,
length), the number and type of updates performed by the
project creator (Mollick, 2014), or the value of the rewards
(Hu et al., 2015). Yet a gap persists regarding the likely
influence of the internet platform in these two-sided markets,
as platform characteristics may strongly affect crowdfunding
project success likelihood.
To fill this gap, this article investigates the impact of
attitudes towards the crowdfunding platform on both
participation and word-of-mouth intentions for contributors.
It thereby makes two main contributions. First, it provides a
better understanding of the effect of an internet platform in a
two-sided market on contributors’ actual participation in the
campaign. By showing that the crowdfunding platform can
influence the success of a campaign, this article challenges the
notion that crowdfunding success mostly depends on project
characteristics (Mollick, 2014) or on project creator
characteristics (Colombo et al., 2015). Second, this study
measures the relative importance of factors that might reduce
contributors’ attitudes towards using the platform and the
effects on the two key behaviours that project creators seek to
trigger, contribution to the project and intention to send
word-of-mouth on the crowdfunding project.
The next section presents the conceptual framework and
research hypotheses. Following a detailed outline of the
methodology, this article provides the study results. Finally,
this article concludes with a discussion, including the
contributions of this study, the limitations and several avenues
for further research.
2. Conceptual framework and research
hypotheses
2.1 Crowdfunding as a two-sided market
The principle of crowdfunding is to solicit the financial
resources of the “crowd” through a campaign on the internet.
Crowdfunding requires an internet platform which acts as a
two-sided market. In the economic sciences, two-sided market
theory explains actor’s behaviour in market in which several
networks (providers and customers) are connected through a
platform (Rochet and Tirole, 2006). Two-sided market might
be encountered in the advertising industry (e.g. a television
channel is a platform for viewers and advertisers), in the digital
economy (e.g. a retail website links suppliers and consumers)
or in the sharing economy, as in a crowdfunding scenario. A
crowdfunding platform can thus be conceptualised as a
two-sided market because it connects two populations: the
first population is the population of project creators. These are
the companies that present a project and that solicit funds
from the crowd (Tomczak and Brem, 2013). Contributors,
the second population of the platform, are investors who give
money to projects in exchange for a reward that is based on the
given amount (Tomczak and Brem, 2013). The platform
allows the project creators to use the internet web site to
collect funds. In exchange, a platform charges a commission
on the amounts of money collected if and when the campaign
is successful. In addition to these services, the attractiveness of
internet-based crowdfunding platforms for project creators is
the value associated with the social capital offered by the
contributors’ community associated with the platform users
(Colombo et al., 2015).
Research on two-sided markets has concluded that the
utility of a platform depends first on the number of users on
each side (Albuquerque et al., 2012). From a contributor
point of view, the more projects a platform has, the more
useful the platform will be to identify crowdfunding projects
adapted to the selection criteria used. From a project creator
point of view, the more users the platform has, the more useful
the project creators will find the platform to present their
project. Such externalities lead to an oligopolistic market
(Rochet and Tirole, 2006), where some platforms concentrate
a large part of the market, and it can indeed be observed for
the crowdfunding sector (e.g. Kickstarter, Indiegogo or
Lending Club capturing a large part of the activity). But as
each side of the market also enters into direct interactions with
the platform, the platform must as well influence the utility for
each population (creators and contributors). In line with the
technology acceptance model (TAM) (Davis, 1989) and the
theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 1985), this study argues
that in a two-sided market, the platform affects contributors’
participation in the campaign.
Project creators use a platform (instead of directly solicit
contributors) for soliciting financial resources from the crowd
Risks of negative attitudes in two-sided markets
Camille Lacan and Pierre Desmet
Journal of Consumer Marketing
Volume 34 · Number 6 · 2017 · 472–479
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(Tomczak and Brem, 2013) to present online their project and
to develop the project awareness. Thanks to the internet
platform, a project creator can thus centralise all amount
collected in one place rather than contacting each contributor
individually. The platform provides the opportunity for all
contributors to participate in the project through its website.
As a result, managing the crowdfunding campaign is easier,
faster and more efficient thanks to this intermediary. In
addition, the internet platform provides additional services
and advices for technical and marketing decisions. One of the
deterrents raised by some project creators for not using
crowdfunding is the lack of skills and competencies (Gleasure,
2015). For example, fundraising by crowdfunding requires
technical skills to develop a web site where contributors could
participate (Hu et al., 2015). To achieve its goal, a project
creator must design an attractive crowdfunding campaign with
effective communication messages that can influence the
contributors’ decisions, send in-process messages to maintain
the commitments of contributors (Xu et al., 2014) and design
a reward scale that can meet the motivations of contributors
(Hu et al., 2015). The scale must offer valuable rewards
related to the amount pledged by the contributor.
Promotional campaign has also developed to stimulate the
decision to participate (e.g. price reductions within the
rewards range, exclusive rewards for early adopters as rewards
with limited editions). As project creators do not always have
these technical and marketing skills, the use of the platform
makes it possible to acquire them (Gleasure, 2015).
2.2 Attitude towards the platform in a two-sided
market
The theory of reasoned action (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975)is
one of the most valid theories for studying the link between
actors’ attitudes and behaviours. This theory has been used in
many contexts and a significant amount of research continues
to improve the theoretical foundation (Perugini and Bagozzi,
2001). Attitudes are commonly defined as an evaluative
dimension, “a person’s attitude represents his evaluation of
the entity in question” (Ajzen and Fishbein, 1977, p. 889),
whereas the behaviours refer to the action dimension and are
directly observable from an objective point of view. The theory
of reasoned action postulates that supportive behaviours
mainly result from three sources: actors’ attitudes towards this
behaviour, subjective norms and perceived behavioural
control (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975). The link between
attitudes and behaviours has been confirmed by numerous
studies on very heterogeneous behaviours. For example,
empirical research has examined attitudes towards a product
and sales, preferences for a politician or a candidate and voting
behaviours in political sciences, attitudes towards academic
activities and spending times to prepare its courses, attitudes
towards environmental protection and recycling behaviours
(For a review of empirical works, see for example Ajzen and
Fishbein, 1977). Recent theories of marketing and social
psychology continue to use the model of reasoned action and
multiple studies have made some improvements to adapt the
model to specific behaviours. For example, Perugini and
Bagozzi (2001) suggest in the goal-directed behaviours that
beyond attitudes, intentions can also be explained by an
affective dimension, including the desires and the anticipated
emotions experienced with achieving the goal. When the
behaviour is associated with a risk of failure, the individual can
anticipate both positive and negative emotions that determine
the intention to achieve the behaviour (Perugini and Bagozzi,
2001). Other models suggest incorporating additional
variables as consumer satisfaction and quality of service to
expand the theory of reasoned action (Han and Kim, 2010).
As a result, the theory of reasoned action and later models that
have deepened and expanded this theory show that attitudes
can be used as a good indicator of behavioural intentions.
The conceptual model and the research hypotheses are
presented in Figure 1.
2.3 Perceived usefulness and ease of use of the
platform
The TAM suggests that the attitude towards a technology is
influenced by two main factors, perceived usefulness and ease
of use (Davis, 1989). These two perceived dimensions affect
how internet users evaluate a technology such as a
crowdfunding platform. Perceived usefulness is defined as
“the degree to which a person believes that using a particular
system would enhance his or her performance” (Davis, 1989,
p. 320). In a crowdfunding context, the perceived usefulness
refers to the beliefs that using the internet platform can help
contributors to support projects (instead of directly support
the project creator). For users, an efficient technology is one of
the main drivers to explain their attitudes and perceived
usefulness has a direct influence on participation intention
(Davis, 1989). Conclusions from several studies are consistent
with this view that perceived usefulness can explain the
adoption of technology (Munoz-Leiva et al., 2012). This leads
to the following hypothesis:
H1. Perceived usefulness is positively related to the attitude
towards the platform (H1a) and the intentions to
participate in the platform (H1b).
The second factor is the perceived ease of use defined as “the
degree to which a person believes that using a particular
system would free of effort” (Davis, 1989, p. 320). Indeed,
perceived usefulness is not sufficient to explain attitude
towards a technology because of the cost and efforts induced
by the platform use and that individuals try to minimise their
efforts. Research shows that the amount of effort developed to
use a technology has a negative influence on the preferences of
individuals for a specific solution (Perugini and Bagozzi,
2001). Thus, all things being equal, individuals evaluate more
positively technologies that are easy to use and require little
effort. In a crowdfunding context, the platform must be easy
Figure 1 Research model and hypothesis
Risks of negative attitudes in two-sided markets
Camille Lacan and Pierre Desmet
Journal of Consumer Marketing
Volume 34 · Number 6 · 2017 · 472–479
474
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to use to attract contributors, suggesting the following
hypotheses:
H2. The perceived ease of use is positively related to the
attitude towards the platform.
2.4 Social sensitivity and perceived transaction risk
An internet platform offers to contributors some benefits that
can impact the perceived usefulness. First a website is an
online social network that consists of users’ communities
(Aaker and Akutsu, 2009). Crowdfunding platforms are
digital platforms where all the interactions between the actors
are visible on the website (Tomczak and Brem, 2013). For a
contributor, this accessibility produces both a positive and
negative effect. First a platform can have a negative effect on
perceived usefulness because of the online dimension: the
website makes the participation to a crowdfunding project
visible on the internet with the name of all the contributors
(Hui et al., 2014). If the campaign is a failure, an internet user
can still see the contributors list long after the end of the
campaign. The fear of being publicly associated with a failure
for a contributor or an investor is one a deterrent to participate
on a platform (Gleasure, 2015). However, a platform can also
have an increase perceived usefulness because its use is similar
to using an online social network (Gerber and Hui, 2013).
Contributors maintain public profiles, which specify their
participation in projects, so the internet platform should
appear more useful for people with a high social sensitivity.
Social sensitivity refers to the degree to the importance given
by an individual to its social group. Because people perceive as
more useful, tools (e.g. a website) which enable them to be
exposed to their social group (Goffman, 1959), the following
hypothesis is made:
H3. The social sensitivity is positively related to the
perceived usefulness of the platform.
The platform characteristics have also a direct influence on
perceived ease of use. An internet platform is used if it is easy
to use to contribute in the project. To do so, platforms
propose several payment methods including credit card
payments online, which encourages immediacy and
impulsivity and thus increases amounts collected compared
with other payment instruments. However, credit card
payments could also raise concerns of payment risks among
contributors (e.g. credit card fraud, fraudulent websites) and
inhibit its use (Van der Heijden, 2003). The hypothesis is
formulated:
H4. The perceived risk of the financial transaction is
negatively related to the ease of use the platform.
2.5 Effect of attitude towards the platform on
behaviours intentions
To support a project on a platform, each contributor must use
the internet platform. The attitude towards the crowdfunding
platform is thus one of the most important predictors to
explain the participation of contributors. The crowdfunding
platform allows contributors to participate in a crowdfunding
project (e.g. by agreeing to donate resources to a project
creator) or share word-of-mouth about it (e.g. by
recommending the project to external online social networks
such as Facebook or Twitter) (Ferguson, 2008). Because the
project creator solicits contributor to carry out these two
actions (by participating in the project and sharing
word-of-mouth communications) on the platform (Bi et al.,
2017;Tomczak and Brem, 2013), his/her attitude towards the
platform should influence the intentions to perform these
behaviours. A negative attitude towards the platform thus
might reduce intentions to both participate and share
word-of-mouth communications about the project. The
following assumptions are made:
H5. The attitude towards the platform is positively related
to intentions to participate in the platform.
H6. The attitude towards the platform is positively related
to intentions to share word-of-mouth communications.
3. Empirical study
3.1 Method
To test effect of attitudes towards the platform on the
intentions to contribute and to share word-of-mouth
communications, the research design uses a scenario method.
In line with previous research (Pavlou, 2003), a
scenario-based approach enables to reproduce a real
behaviour within a survey. This method increases the internal
validity of the study by avoiding the use of a real platform
where users may have an existing attitude towards it. The
scenario consists of first presenting a crowdfunding platform
and then measuring the psychometric variables. Respondents
read a description of a crowdfunding platform and a list of
crowdfunding projects. The focal project involves financing an
ecologically designed jeans line, which respects the
environment. Ecological projects are a popular category in
rewards-based crowdfunding (Mollick, 2014). In addition,
this project category is well suited to word-of-mouth
communications (Berger, 2014). People often share products
on the online social networks, especially products related to
their preferences and their concerns (Eisingerich et al., 2015).
The data collection controlled for participants’ interest in
green and ecological products. Finally, they completed a
survey to evaluate the different items on Likert scales. The
concepts measured are those presented in the theoretical
framework (attitude towards the crowdfunding platform,
perceived usefulness, perceive ease of use, social sensitivity,
perceived transaction risk), the dependent variables
(willingness to participate and to share word-of-mouth), the
control variables (interest in the project category) and finally
the demographic variables.
3.2 Sample
Crowdfunding is still underdeveloped in many countries.
Within the French platforms, only 2.7 million users have
supported a project (2015 crowdfunding barometer by
“Finance participative” available at financeparticipative.org)
which is low in relation to the total population (less than 3 per
cent). It is thus not possible to recruit active crowdfunding
contributors and the respondents are not recruited on the
previous experience in crowdfunding. Participants were
invited by email to participate anonymously in an online
Risks of negative attitudes in two-sided markets
Camille Lacan and Pierre Desmet
Journal of Consumer Marketing
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survey without financial compensation for their participation.
The sample is made of 218 French internet users (46 per cent
women; average age of 59 years). The three most represented
professions are the executives and high intellectual professions
(19.3 per cent), employees (17.4 per cent) and students or
people without activities (16.1 per cent).
3.3 Measures
All the items were adapted from prior literature and measured
with seven-point Likert scales. For attitude towards the platform,
the measure reflected the scale developed by Chen (1999);
sample item, “I have a positive feeling towards this platform”.
Perceived usefulness relied on Davis’s (1989) assessment of the
utility of the platform for interacting with the project and its
creator (“Using the platform enables me to support the
project”). The perceived ease of use measure reflects the effort
required to make financial contributions on the platform
(“Using this platform to make a transaction is easy”),
measured on a scale from Wolfinbarger and Gilly (2003).
For the dependent variables, the measure for the intention to
participate came from Rodgers (2003); “I would participate in
this project” and that for intention to share word-of-mouth relied
on a scale by Maxham and Netemeyer (2002); “I would
recommend this project to my friends”.
The control variable, namely, interest in the project category,
was measured with a single-item scale (1 Not important;
7Very important). Social sensitivity, or the importance the
respondent grants to her or his social group, comes from a
scale by Aaker and Lee (2001); “What others think of me is
important”. Finally, measure of the perceived risk associated
with the financial transaction uses the scale by Montoya-Weiss
et al. (2003; “Payment by credit card online is safe”). The
demographic variables collected are the respondents’ age,
income, educational level and occupation.
Normality tests indicate that all variables follow a normal
distribution. The highest value for the skewness coefficient is
1.28 (perceived transaction risk), and the highest value for
kurtosis is 0.82 (participation intentions). Exploratory factor
analysis indicates that Cronbach’ alpha levels are satisfactory.
All variables are above the cut-off of 0.7. The lowest value is
for the perceived usefulness (0.82). All factors loadings are
above 0.6.
Confirmatory factor analyse confirms the consistency and
quality of the measures, which meet standard thresholds for
reliability, convergent validity, discriminant validity (Fornell
and Larcker, 1981;Hu and Bentler, 1995). Specifically, on
the reliability, the minimum value for the Joreskog’s rho is
0.83 (perceived usefulness), on the convergent validity all
indicators are above 0.5 and for the discriminant validity no
construct has a square root of its variance extracted greater
than inter-construct correlations. Finally, the invariance test
shows that the measure achieves an adequate fit between the
men and women (Steenkamp and Baumgartner, 1998).
Measures of each construct are thus satisfactory. Table I
presents the details of the convergent and discriminant validity
tests for each concept.
The mean values on the Likert scales were as follows:
attitude towards the platform 5.24/7, perceived usefulness
4.58/7 and difficulty of use 5.48/7. Correlations between the
key variables of the theoretical framework are high.
Correlation coefficient between attitude towards the platform
and intentions to participate is statistically significant and
positive (r0.68), as also between attitude towards the
platform and intentions to share word-of-mouth (r0.58).
The correlation between the attitude towards the platform is
therefore higher with the intention to participate than with the
intention to share word-of-mouth communications. Table II
presents all descriptive statistics (mean and standard
deviation) along with Pearson correlations.
4. Results
To tests hypotheses a structural equation model to test the
relationships between the unobservable latent constructs
measured in the survey and the two dependent variables
(Fornell and Larcker, 1981). The fit of the model to the data
is satisfactory (
2
43.13;
2
/df 2.69; normed fit index
0.94; confirmatory fit index 0.96; Tucker–Lewis index
0.93; goodness-of-fit index 0.96; root mean square error of
approximation 0.06). The structural model thus supports
that in line with the theoretical framework, the perceived ease
of use and the perceived usefulness of a crowdfunding
platform are influenced by two external factors and that, in
turn, the these variables influence contributors’ attitudes
towards using the platform and the intention to send
word-of-mouth.
The results confirm the central role of attitude towards the
platform and its two determinants: the perceived usefulness of
the crowdfunding platform increases both attitudes towards
that platform, in line with H1a, and intentions to participate,
in accordance with H1b. When the website is more difficult to
use (low perceived ease of use), it significantly decreases
attitude towards the crowdfunding platform, in support of H2.
In further support of the TAM theoretical framework, the
results confirm that attitudes have indeed a clear influence on
declared expected behaviour: a positive attitude towards the
Table I Cronbach’s alpha, reliability, convergent and discriminant validity
Variable Cronbach’s alpha Joreskog’s rho Convergent validity rho ASV MSV
1. Att./Platform 0.937 0.938 0.833 0.164 0.420
2. Perceived usefulness 0.815 0.825 0.704 0.027 0.088
3. Difficulty of use 0.879 0.883 0.717 0.053 0.093
4. Participate 0.925 0.926 0.863 0.228 0.634
5. Word-of-mouth 0.915 0.915 0.783 0.192 0.634
6. Social sensitivity 0.872 0.876 0.779 0.017 0.053
7. Transaction risk 0.876 0.884 0.794 0.075 0.142
Notes: ASV Average shared variance; MSV Maximum shared variance; Att. Attitude
Risks of negative attitudes in two-sided markets
Camille Lacan and Pierre Desmet
Journal of Consumer Marketing
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crowdfunding platform significantly increases respondents’
intentions to participate in a project, in support of H5, as well
as their intentions to share word-of-mouth, in support of H6.
Results show that intention to participate is positively related
to word-of-mouth intention (
0.49, p0.05). R
2
for the
dependent variables are 0.53 (attitude towards the platform),
0.51 (participate intention) and 0.63 (word-of-mouth
intention).
The influences of external factors are mixed though. For
example, the, social sensitivity does not influence the
perceived usefulness of the platform, so H3 must be rejected
and does not influence participation intentions or
word-of-mouth intentions. But social sensitivity is directly
related to attitude towards the platform (
0.21, p0.05).
Regarding perceived ease of use of the internet platform, the
risk associated with the transaction has indeed a negative
effect on this variable supporting H4.Table II summarises
these results by presenting the estimated coefficients, their
standard errors and the p-value tests (Table III).
5. Discussion, limitations and directions for
research
In a two-sided market, can the crowdfunding platform itself
reduces contributors’ participation and diminish the chances
of project success? This research aims to contribute to answer
this question by assessing the factors that influence potential
participants’ attitudes towards the platform and then testing
their effects on the two key behaviours, willingness to
participate and share word-of-mouth communications on a
crowdfunding project.
Several contributions emerge from these results.
First, this study supports and extends information
technology research (Davis, 1989;Davis et al., 1989)by
affirming the validity of the TAM theoretical framework for
crowdfunding platforms. Attitudes towards a website,
including online crowdfunding platforms, are less favourable
when the platforms appear less useful and difficult to use. This
result involves that in a two-sided market (Rochet and Tirole,
2006), especially when both sides of the market exchange
directly on a website, the assessment of the platform through
which intermediation is carried out is critical. Furthermore,
the research shows that dimensions of the interaction other
than communication play an important role. Indeed, the
perceived risk of the financial transaction has a strongly
influence on perceived ease of use. Therefore, the platform’s
payment system must be acknowledged as a critical factor,
with the greatest potential negative effect on contributors’
attitudes towards the internet platform. For internet platforms
that rely on financial support from contributors as the
foundation of their crowdfunding operations, this finding is
highly relevant. The results also highlighted the relationship
between two under researched factors and attitude towards
the crowdfunding platform: social sensitivity and perceived
transactions risks. Interestingly social sensitivity does not have
direct influence on the perceived usefulness of the platform.
This result can be explained by the fact that crowdfunding
platforms are not perceived as a place of social interactions
such as an online social network. According to the theory of
impression management (Goffman, 1959), people try to
influence the perception of their image in all the actions they
carry out (e.g. in a donor behaviour, people want to be
perceived as an altruistic person a suggested by Aaker and
Akutsu, 2009, in sharing word-of-mouth communications,
people try to shape the impressions that others have of them
(Berger, 2014). People adapt their behaviours and achieve
their “performances” depending on the situation and the
audience to which they are exposed (Goffman, 1959). As a
result, people with high social sensitivity may depend more on
Table II Descriptive statistics and Pearson’s correlation coefficients
Variable M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6
1. Att./Platform 5.24 1.70
2. Perceived usefulness 4.58 1.75 0.16
3. Difficulty of use 5.48 1.66 0.33
ⴱⴱ
0.01 –
4. Participate 5.24 1.46 0.68
ⴱⴱ
0.26
ⴱⴱ
0.30
ⴱⴱ
5. Word-of-mouth 4.95 1.54 0.58
ⴱⴱ
0.15
0.27
ⴱⴱ
0.84
ⴱⴱ
6. Social sensitivity 3.95 1.59 0.25
ⴱⴱ
0.002 0.20
ⴱⴱ
0.09 0.07 –
7. Transaction risk 4.61 1.71 0.28
ⴱⴱ
0.04 0.76
ⴱⴱ
0.27
ⴱⴱ
0.05 0.04
Notes:
p
0.05;
ⴱⴱ
p
0.01; M Mean; SD Standard deviation.; Att. Attitude
Table III Effects of attitudes toward the internet crowdfunding platform in a two-sided market
Research hypotheses Coefficient Standard Error
p
-Value
H1a
Perceived usefulness ¡Att. platform 0.32 0.12
ⴱⴱ
H1b
Perceived usefulness ¡Participate 0.37 0.08
ⴱⴱⴱ
H2
Difficulty of use ¡Att. platform 0.30 0.07
ⴱⴱⴱ
H3
Social sensitivity ¡Perceived usefulness 0.01 0.04 n.s.
H4
Transaction risk ¡Ease of use 1.26 0.07
ⴱⴱⴱ
H5
Negative att. /Ptf. ¡Participate 0.54 0.04
ⴱⴱⴱ
H6
Negative att. /Ptf. ¡Word-of-mouth 0.23 0.11
ⴱⴱⴱ
Notes:
ⴱⴱ
p
0.01;
ⴱⴱⴱ
p
0.001;
p
-value tests are carried out at the 95% risk error; n.s. not significant; Att. Attitude; Ptf. Platform
Risks of negative attitudes in two-sided markets
Camille Lacan and Pierre Desmet
Journal of Consumer Marketing
Volume 34 · Number 6 · 2017 · 472–479
477
Downloaded by UNIVERSITE PARIS DAUPHINE At 08:02 20 September 2017 (PT)
external social networks to develop their e-reputation rather
than using the internet platforms which have a smaller and
more specialised audience (Colombo et al., 2015;Hui et al.,
2014).
Second, this study shows that in a two-sided market, a
platform not only connects two populations (Rochet and
Tirole, 2006) and facilitates connections between them
(Tomczak and Brem, 2013) but also plays a role of interface
and by its image and service moderates the effect of the project
characteristics on contributors’ participation. Specifically, a
project presented on a platform which has a rather negative
evaluation will receive less support from the contributors.
Furthermore, aside from this communication and services
crowdfunding platforms contribute by providing an initial
internal social capital, which may provide the first funds
offered to support the projects (Colombo et al., 2015). This
study extends these results from two-sided market theory by
showing that the crowdfunding platform can be an obstacle to
fundraising if users develop negative attitudes towards it. This
effect applies to both intentions to participate in the project
and intentions to share word-of-mouth about it. These are the
two key behaviours that a creator seeks to trigger (Tomczak
and Brem, 2013). Participation directly increases the chances
of success of a campaign. The more contributors, the more
likely the project is to reach its goal before the deadline. And
the faster the contributors participate in the campaign, the
more imitation effects they will generate (Colombo et al.,
2015). Word-of-mouth communications contribute indirectly
by increasing project awareness (Ferguson, 2008;Bi et al.,
2017). A comparative analysis shows that the consequences of
a negative attitude towards the platform are also stronger for
participating than for sharing word-of-mouth, so a favourable
attitude constitutes a critical pre-requisite that project creators
must establish if they hope to increase their success rate.
At a managerial level, the conclusions of this research
suggest several ways that internet platforms can improve the
attitudes of potential contributors. In particular, they should
enhance the ease of use and security associated with their
payment systems, as well as perceptions of their usefulness
among their potential contributors. The platforms must show
that beyond a simple intermediary, they offer a space of social
visibility that enables contributors to manage their identity
and to get feedback from others users. The social network
dimensions of an internet platform should thus be highlighted
to reveal that the platform facilitates exchanges among the
members of a community. For project creators, these results
also recommend the adaptation of campaigns to lower
inhibitions that might keep contributors from using the
platform. In addition, project creators might use potential
contributors’ attitudes towards different platforms as a
selection criterion, then present their projects only on those
platforms that already invoke favourable attitudes. While
crowdfunding is still nascent (Mollick, 2014), this strategy
could increase the number of contributors and lead to
increased participation and resource donations.
Several limitations of this study suggest some areas for
further research. The tests of the model rely on declarative
measures, so to increase external validity, further studies
might affirm the effect of the platform on participation, using
a behavioural perspective in a real environment. The
theoretical model also accounts mainly for the utilitarian
dimension and its influence on participation in the internet
platform (Davis, 1989). Affective dimensions, such as
perceived enjoyment and desires, also might be integrated
(Van der Heijden, 2003;Perugini and Bagozzi, 2001). Beyond
the likely moderating effects of demographic variables, other
individual variables might be incorporated too, including a
user’s experience with the sharing economy. Finally, the
relative contribution of attitudes towards the internet
platform, compared with the effects of the nature of the
project or its communication, suggests further research.
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Corresponding author
Camille Lacan can be contacted at: camille.lacan@
dauphine.fr
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Risks of negative attitudes in two-sided markets
Camille Lacan and Pierre Desmet
Journal of Consumer Marketing
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... Performance expectancy is one of the important factors when studying technology acceptance and users' behavioral adoption. This factor was identified previously in the technology acceptance model (TAM) (Davis et al., 1989) under another name, i.e., perceived usefulness and proved to be significant in many studies and across different contexts such as the study of Lacan and Desmet (2017) and Thaker et al. (2018). ...
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