Internet Forums As Influential Sources of Consumer Information

Barbara Bickart, Rutgers University
Robert Schindler, Rutgers University
ABSTRACT - We report the results of an experiment in which consumers were instructed to gather online information about one of five specific product topics by accessing either online discussions (i.e., Internet forums or bulletin boards) or marketer-generated online information (i.e., corporate web pages). At the end of a 12-week period, the consumers who gathered information from online discussions reported greater interest in the product topic than did those consumers who acquired information from the marketer-generated sources. We discuss the study’s implications for better understanding word-of-mouth communication and for developing more successful consumer web sites.
[ to cite ]:
Barbara Bickart and Robert Schindler (2001) ,"Internet Forums As Influential Sources of Consumer Information", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, eds. Mary C. Gilly and Joan Meyers-Levy, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 134.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, 2001     Page 134

INTERNET FORUMS AS INFLUENTIAL SOURCES OF CONSUMER INFORMATION

Barbara Bickart, Rutgers University

Robert Schindler, Rutgers University

ABSTRACT -

We report the results of an experiment in which consumers were instructed to gather online information about one of five specific product topics by accessing either online discussions (i.e., Internet forums or bulletin boards) or marketer-generated online information (i.e., corporate web pages). At the end of a 12-week period, the consumers who gathered information from online discussions reported greater interest in the product topic than did those consumers who acquired information from the marketer-generated sources. We discuss the study’s implications for better understanding word-of-mouth communication and for developing more successful consumer web sites.

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