I think I know what you are referring to, and it sounds like an interesting topic!
I've found that the more information I provide a customer during checkout tends to lead to slightly less orders, but I also receive less customer emails. I think this basically weeds out any customers that in the end would turn out to be more of a hassle to deal with.
I feel a lot of things affect business lost online (i.e. item price, shipping cost, customer service, shipping times, inventory, reviews, etc..), but I think small things like the way you write or explain things on your website plays a role as well.
I've noticed by just changing the way I worded something, or where I place it on my website; definitely did have an affect on sales.