Purpose - The publication of papers in scholarly journals is an important channel for the dissemination of academic knowledge. Analyzing academic content provides useful insights into how services marketing evolves over a selected time frame. The purpose of this paper is to determine key trends published in the Journal of Services Marketing during the recent 11-year period from 1998 to 2008.Design/methodology/approach - This paper presents a content analysis of the papers published in the Journal of Services Marketing during the period 1998-2008. A total of 417 papers, excluding book reviews, were analyzed. Descriptive statistics provide an overview of the research contributions.Findings - The main finding is that most of the papers published in the Journal of Services Marketing during the recent 11-year period are research-based papers. Other findings include a trend towards co-authorship, the use of surveys and empirical data, adults as research subjects, factor analysis, structural equation modeling, and analysis of variance as the most popular statistical techniques. Based on a keyword analysis most papers are related to service quality and customer service.Practical implications - Researchers who wish to publish in this journal can use the findings as a guideline in preparing for their submission. The study gives an overview of the types of papers published in this journal. The analysis also shows that there is no preference for a particular topic for publication which stimulates new and varied contribution from researchers.Originality/value - This is the first content analysis conducted of the scholarly contribution to this journal that shows the trends in services research topics.