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Word of Mouse

Word of Mouse

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International Journal of Market Research Vol.

51 Issue 3

FORUM Word of mouse
An assessment of electronic word-of-mouth research
Michael Breazeale
Mississippi State University

Word-of-mouth. (WOM). communication. has. received. a. great. deal. of. attention. from.marketing.academics.and.practitioners.alike ..Widespread.use.of.the.internet. for. shopping,. information. gathering. and. entertainment. purposes. has. changed. not.only.the.ways.that.WOM.can.be.studied.and.manipulated.but.also.the.very. nature. of. the. phenomenon .. Published. research. into. electronic. WOM. (eWOM). first. appeared. in. the. top-level. marketing. journals. only. about. ten. years. ago .. Since. that. time,. there. has. been. a. great. deal. of. research. but. no. synthesis. of. the. knowledge. that. would. allow. one. to. draw. conclusions. regarding. the. evolving. nature.of.WOM.and.to.extend.the.theory.applied.to.this.topic ..This.paper.will. address. that. gap,. applying. the. paradigm. funnel. technique. suggested. by. Nairn. et al..(IJMR,.49,.2),.and.will.suggest.some.future.research.directions . ‘It is the customer who determines what a business is. For it is the customer, and he alone, who through being willing to pay for a good or service, converts economic resources into wealth, things into goods. What the business thinks it produces is not of first importance – especially not to the future of the business and its success.’ Peter.Drucker.(1954)



© 2009 The Market Research Society DOI: 10.2501/S1470785309200566


Forum: Word of mouse

the. receiver. perceives. as. non-commercial,. regarding. a. brand,. product,. or. service’. (Arndt. 1967) .. Additionally,. its. nature. has. been. described. as. fleeting. because. it. ‘vanishes. as. soon. as. it. is. uttered,. for. it. occurs. in. a. spontaneous. manner. and. then. disappears’. (Stern. 1994) .. In. the. age. of. the. internet,. however,. that. caveat. no. longer. applies .. WOM. no. longer. vanishes.instantly.and.it.is.not.necessarily.spontaneous ..There.may.also.be. a.reduced.perception.that.the.communicator.is.in.fact.non-commercial.or. even. an. actual. consumer. at. all .. From. firm-moderated. discussion. boards. to. consumer-created. complaint. sites,. the. internet. has. changed. the. very. definition. of. WOM,. as. well. as. the. ways. that. marketers. perceive. and. manage.this.important.component.of.the.marketing.mix ..The.ramifications. of.electronic.WOM.(eWOM).have.been.a.subject.of.discussion.since.the. first. user-friendly. web. browser,. NCSA. Mosaic,. was. introduced. in. 1993. (Zwass.1996) ..It.has.only.been.in.the.last.ten.or.so.years,.however,.that. the.topic.has.been.addressed.in.top-level.marketing.journals ..Because.this. research.is.relatively.new,.there.has.not.yet.been.a.thorough.synthesis.of. the. articles,. nor. has. there. been. an. analysis. of. the. direction. the. research. has. taken .. This. paper. will. address. that. deficiency,. utilising. a. technique. known. as. the. paradigm. funnel .. This. technique. allows. researchers. to. reconcile.the.observed.and.the.assumed.while.assessing.the.methods.and. implicit.assumptions.underlying.a.particular.stream.of.literature.(Nairn et al ..2007) . The.paper.is.structured.as.follows:.a.brief.WOM.research.timeline.will. describe.the.evolution.of.WOM.thought;.the.‘Method’.section.will.discuss. the. appropriateness. of. the. paradigm. funnel. technique. for. this. review,. and. will. then. explain. the. selection. of. articles. for. review. and. the. review. process;. each. category. of. research. is. then. described,. and. representative. articles. discussed;. the. paper. concludes. with. a. discussion. of. the. author’s. perceptions.regarding.gaps.in.the.research.and.possible.future.directions. for.this.stream.of.research .

A brief WOM research timeline
A. topic. of. concern. for. consumer. behaviour. researchers. since. the. late. 1960s. (Arndt. 1967),. it. has. long. been. believed. that. WOM. can. be. even. more. influential. in. consumer. decision. making. than. any. marketercontrolled. source. of. information. (Day. 1971;. Sheth. 1971;. Buttle. 1998) .. Due. to. perceived. source. reliability. and. the. flexibility. of. interpersonal. communication,. WOM. has. a. unique. ability. to. influence. consumer. decisions.(Engel.et al ..1969;.Day.1971;.Tybout et al ..1981;.Richins.1983;.


focus. making. that.strategy. find..&. 1999) .issues. the..also.Reynolds.eWOM . a.of. Jones. A-level..indicates...has..more. research.to. strong.firm.the.they.not.list:. positive.dwindled.perceptions. can.Additionally.to...that. helpful..Luo.heard. 2007).WOM. Netemeyer.influence. recent.are. (Engel et al .not. Another.the. Allsop et al .. During..of.proliferation..their.as..(Maxham.(Luo. of.in. to.as. and.EBSCO. of.WOM. &.to. for.efforts.a.the.increasing. &. 2006..voice.delighted.experience. Wangenheim.of.paper. who. Wangenheim. dissatisfied.by.value. customers. decision.and.period . in..primary. information. &.implications.of.1994. strategic.the.firms.These..research.the.and.evolution.Gremler.(Arndt. Price.acquisition.reviewed.and.Other.WOM.practitioners..of.the. WOM. consumer-generated..this.customers.in.Krishnan.but.has. has. on..(Buttle. those. ability.on.the. impact.or. academics. Bayon.their. Voorhees et al . 299 .2008). the. WOM.influential..strategy.changes.. past.(Kumar.2008) ..&. changes..WOM.a. WOM..&. that.International Journal of Market Research Vol. 2007.examined. those.interest.marketing.peer-reviewed. 51 Issue 3 Bolfing. Method The.those. review...people.only. customer.Tybout et al . &. articles.holistically. Allenby.. several... 2007. 2006.of.an.2003. has. the.1998) . perceive.2002. be. average.both. 2007. even.by.Brown et al . Examined. the.about. stream. Villanueva et al .who.Homburg. 1995. proven..for.2007) . the.providers.on.manage.belief.WOM .impact. 2002..part.search.WOM. Gwinner.of. WOM.1990s.for.the. in. &.. 1969. practitioners. nature.with. 1998.due. 1983). have..respond.experienced.(Horsky. making.from.Gershoff et al .of. &.Netemeyer..a. fact. Reynolds. extended. has. the.&.for. though.consumer. the. 2008) . shown.body. Feick.research.came.following.2002.make. A.to. Richins.researchers.&. Walsh.articles. to.word. 2007..people.than. reveals.firms . consumer. consumer’s. research. of. decision. Recent. interest. even. of. maintaining.behaviour.. Beatty.research. &. 2003.Jones.electronic.strong. sometimes.Ryu. on. negative. Ginter.marketing.role.&.satisfied.with. of..1967) .as.the..search..Hahn et al .ability.articles. journals.explored.such.2006. Bayon.then.discuss.tell.consumers’. 1989) .phenomenon. the. in. making. 2007.manipulate. can. years. negative.. significant.shift. Arnould. 2007.that. perceptions.in.even.more. 1981). (Maxham.WOM.and.and.keywords.. more. of.a.1990. (Allsop et al . internet. increasing.attempt.to. consumers’.from.. Villanueva et al .2005. been. Buttle..affect.began.2007.since. the.an.(Bolfing. by.1989. the.as.to.. Even..consumers. in. WOM.academics.research.positive.The. decision.tend.

yielded.highest.the..observed.unobservable’. of.further. to.were. literature ...one.search.the. A-.source.for.mouth.then.. and.most.. those.027 1.687 * * 3.academics. list.journals.between. The. new.This. funnel. are.the.list. disseminating. ‘explicit. in.mouth. Table 1 Journal Communications of the ACM Electronic Markets IEEE Micro Information & Management International Journal of Electronic Commerce International Journal of Market Research International Journal of Research in Marketing Journal of Advertising Research Journal of Applied Business Research Journal of Business Research Journal of Consumer Research Journal of Interactive Marketing Journal of Management Information Systems Journal of Marketing Journal of Marketing Education Journal of Retailing Management Science Marketing Management Marketing Management Journal Marketing Science Psychology and Marketing Journals represented in this review (alphabetical) Number of articles Journal impact rating 2 3 1 1 6 7 1 7 1 3 1 5 4 2 1 2 2 1 1 2 1 1.that.eWOM . forces.815 2.word. from. Any. findings .theory.within.shifts. a. ‘implicit.level.these. The.818 4.funnel.mouth. the. special. articles.These.levels.631 1.filtered. journals. work. a.fact.were.of..reviewed.The.196 1.. a.043 1.948 *No impact rating listed in the 2007 ISI Web of Science Journal Citation Reports 300 .research.word.paradigm. (A.internet.of. Table. to..rejections. supposes. replacement.the.53.was.. determination. ranging. This. of.reconcile. or. the.186 0. of. of. found.. stream. selecting. with.acquiring. 1 .mouse.issues..by.371 1. that.theory..with.and.).509 * * 1.to.practitioners.cause. with. observable’. and... within. four.Essentially. of. significant. another . business.and.shifts. matching.occur. by.Nairn et al .395 * 0.1970) . included. were.. journals.of.(Kuhn.by. research. the.articles . and. from. of.This. articles. levels.utilised.articulation. of.(2007) .of.977 0. be.assumed.paradigm. funnel.paradigm. at. B-ranked. examines.of..funnel. and.utilising.2007) . paradigmatic. can.125.the..because. technique.of..represent.paradigm.. the.removed.or.071 0. the. editorials.Forum: Word of mouse of.resulting.in. the.a.articles . the. articles.831 * 1.examined.online.. introductions.or. only. list.suggested. fact..the.and.(Nairn et al .word.serves.

consists. categories. of. axiological.the.the..each. articles. not.of. to. by. level. theory. are. fact. articles.. articles.data. the. specific. based. methodological.. facts.primary.that. in. purposes. in.. the. of. The. fails. fact .interpreted . participated. with. represent. address. those.objective. of. the.. reconcile. represents. researchers. in. that. a. implied. assumptions. five.on. reviewed. this. represents.methodology . that. to.to. these.. of. that. For. and.content. the. an. new. 51 Issue 3 when. an. funnel). paradigm.reinterpretation. that.are. author. of.of. assumptions. one. questioned.illustration. Funnel. underlying.. literature . level. building . shift.way.current.methodology .in. this. theory. theories. theory.paper. the. a. suppositions. the. the. those. few.the.be.paradigm. was. specific. 2.and.the. articles. empirical. challenge. confront. place.. ontological. (four. employed. paradigm. to. 1. of. Funnel.examining. to.authors’. determined. agree.research. one.explicit. do.If.views. Funnel. epistemological.Funnel. have. of. have. unobservable Figure 1 The paradigm funnel (adapted from Nairn et al.International Journal of Market Research Vol.. and. employed. with.funnel. observation. theories. identify. of. and.. gaps.can. those.. to. articles. observable Empirical observations Level 1 Analytical methods Level 2 Specific theories Level 3 Core assumptions Level 4 Implicit. purpose. eventual.evaluate. the.3. 2007) 301 . into.level.(An. core.The. results .intentions. on.analyse. attempt. and.that. determine. technique. Explicit. been. 4.Figure. primary.by. which. levels. the. paper. primarily.. catalogue.found. existing. articles. and. who. level.1 .. those.was. contains. those. methods. criteria.paper .). then. analytical. significant.of. investigate. authors.each.. paradigm.objective.

&. to. reader. such.eWOM . effect. engage..51%. employs. were.(Bickart. comprise. a..Schindler.this.Finally.empirical..Ragowsky. provides.A. articles .reviewed.or.of.contain.total.motivation.examined..why. also. consumers.Sen.a.&..articles.industry . Some.the.from.about.consumer.&.. research.. Level 1: empirical research An. in.studied.one. the. popular.an.group. funnel .consumers. as.of. &. to. eWOM. utilised.2008) .topic.eWOM . eWOM.and..travel.. of.Phelps et al .of.cross-cultural. Overview (7%) Core assumptions (4%) Specific theories (13%) Empirical observation (51%) Analytical methods (25%) Figure 2 Percentage of articles in each research level 302 .facts.2004.specifically.2004. consumer. potential.perspective .idea.(Hung.‘overview. that.review .&.(Stauss.an.overall.2007) . to.participate. level.Bui. pertains.article.that. to. empirical.The.largest..for.&.eWOM. marketing. eWOM. of. the.Graham.&..researchers.the.funnel.tourism. it.perspective. propensity.metaphor. Each.from.empirical.eWOM.. engaging..A. articles. of. eWOM.of. outcomes. in.topic.topic.articles.perspective.written. strategic.Li.couple. consumer-generated. 2003) .reside. viral.Fong.2007. articles.2007.. (Garbarino.2001.2007.to. on..behaviour.permeated.2004. gender.the. examination. the.Amblee.of.level’. the. of.is. pay. a. specific.2006.this.53. Walsh. the.in.Some. methods.Awad. of.Burton.(Moore.addressed.Several.a. state. &. 1. articles.and. of. considered.same.. to. part.additional. (Hennig-Thurau.. as.Gruen et al . eWOM.about.of.various. of..the.Lerman..Do-Hyung et al ..disseminators.from. topic.type.have..Moore. Overall. these.strategic. attention.&.2008) .attempted.an.2008). determine.the.to. Another. implications.explored.motivations. of.those. with.themes.describe.of. examined.researchers.is.1997.the.as. to.Forum: Word of mouse made.appropriate.of.&.the....the. was.about.articles.Havlena.the.Strahilevitz.a.

&. this.sales.studied.to.messages. found.well.as.which.determine. resources.consumer.. trust.(Chevalier.of.. impact.2006).. a.Duan et al . list. manipulated.. from. is. on. the.an. in. manipulate. product views..its.(Srinivasan et al . In. uncertain.a.but.2006) . and.them.2006). advertising. as. of. quality. on. Gauri et al .sales. article. the. One.online.issue. inferior.of.trust. online.study. (2004). 2007..customer..a. of.impact.2006. the.in. participants.office. in.International Journal of Market Research Vol. Table.box.ripe. implications. equilibrium... The. 2003). about.read. consumer. superior .product.This. 2008) .. were. the. more.online.on.in. promotion.Mayzlin.(Duan et al ... attention. promoting. 51 Issue 3 Niederhoffer et al .&. whether. messages. There. use. (A.considered. impact. and. (Peltier et al .eWOM..role.(Mayzlin.loyalty. strategy.received.receipts. 2008) . WOM.Mithas et al . products. where..2002..researchers.typology. only. 1.. in..the. education. existing. competing.2006. well. Ragowsky.communications . unique.a. striking.contexts. 2008) .online. the.examined. eWOM. case. Khazanchi.for. firm-generated. can. that.firm’s.. Only.also. was. on.was.2008).Gruen et al . Consideration.to. strategies .of. equilibrium.that..research. firms ..building. Hennig-Thurau et al .. both. products. eventually. this.(Liu. promoting.create. eWOM. and. of.effects. more... firms.one. were. not.eWOM.role.was.eWOM. was.(Kuan..studied. level.help.eWOM.more..decision. and.. 2008) .to.in.to. grouped.further.sales. a. general. products’.research . persuasive. Awad. sales.The.of. –. despite. of.generating. of. seem.) Table 2 Level 1 articles: empirical observations Purpose of the article Longitudinal study of the impact of brand and pooled reputation on the odds of additional reviews being posted Assesses whether the effect of online trust on intention to shop online is moderated by gender Studies attitudinal and behavioural outcomes of consumers’ online information gathering Investigates the impact of online book reviews on online book sales Evaluates the impact of online WOM attributes.some. this. &. firms.specifically. and category on e-commerce sales (continued) Article Amblee & Bui (2008) Awad & Ragowsky (2008) Bickart & Schindler (2001) Chevalier & Mayzlin (2006) Davis & Khazanchi (2008) 303 .. public... 2007. examined. be. &. policy.–. their.surreptitiously. (Davis.be.book. as. inferior . In.number.the.. consumers.Bock. superior. impact. to.researcher. articles. eWOM.of. only. of.2 .. contrast. would. the. competitor. spent.

clarity of information. (2007) Duan et al. (2008) Fong & Burton (2008) Garbarino & Strahilevitz (2004) Gauri et al. (2006) Hennig-Thurau & Describes several motives that explain why customers utilise eWOM in making Walsh (2003) purchase decisions Hennig-Thurau et al.Forum: Word of mouse Table 2 Article Level 1 articles: empirical observations (continued) Purpose of the article Uses the elaboration likelihood model to explain how level of involvement with a product moderates the relationships between quality and quantity of online consumer reviews and purchase Separates the effects of eWOM as a precursor and an outcome of box office performance Examines the differences between US and Chinese posters of online opinion forums Examines the differences between men and women in their perceptions of risk when shopping online and the effect of receiving a recommendation from a friend Compares the importance of e-ratings to that of site design. and customer service in online businesses Attempts to show the link between eWOM and purchase decisions Investigates the effects of online C2C know-how exchange on customer perceptions of value and customer loyalty intentions Do-Hyung et al. (2004) Hung & Li (2007) Kassim & Abdullah (2008) Kuan & Bock (2007) Liu (2006) Mayzlin (2006) Creates a typology of eWOM articulation in a virtual communities setting Develops four reasons why Chinese consumers participate in online opinion forums Investigates the impact of individual dimensions of service quality on customer satisfaction. (2002) Stauss (1997) 304 . (2004) Sen & Lerman (2007) Srinivasan et al. (2008) Graham & Havlena (2007) Gruen et al. (2007) Peltier et al. on-time delivery. trust. (2006) Moore & Moore (2004) Niederhoffer et al. and loyalty in an e-commerce setting Examines which factors contribute to trust in an online retailer Explores the role of eWOM in explaining box office revenue Investigates whether eWOM remains credible if consumers know that firms are generating some of it themselves and whether firms choose to devote more resources promoting their inferior or superior products Develops a theoretical model for understanding the effect of site design elements on customer loyalty to a website Investigates how elements of the communication environment influence a consumer’s attitude and intentions Utilises existing databases to describe the evolving role of eWOM in the consumer packaged goods sector Examines the impact of eWOM in an online education setting Reports the results of three studies that examine consumer responses and motivation to pass along eWOM e-mails Investigates the existence of a negativity effect on consumers’ interpretation of eWOM communications Investigates the antecedents and consequences of customer loyalty in an online setting/finds that loyalty impacts WOM promotion and willingness to pay more Qualitatively examines the phenomenon of eWOM and discusses the importance in relation to overall marketing strategy Mithas et al. order-tracking. (2003) Phelps et al.

Comley.level.posters. mere.. researchers. research. stream . probably. this. novelty. Table. phenomenon . occurrence.value.devoted. list.2008) ..marketing.methods.component. article.&.attempting. data. methodology. this.to. to. can.(Schimmel. to. of. of. 13%.a.wish. part. be.to.value.television.eWOM.that. methods. specific.that. One. The.decreases. Beer.one.new.in.. in.occur.to. in. as.eWOM.most.2005) . describe. various.The. order. of.introducing.mix.the..adapted. Ewing. (A.create.0.data .eWOM. a.journal. for. level. with. 305 .user-generated.and.also. in. places. be. the.this. of. 51 Issue 3 Level 2: analytical methods The.of.who.identities . purpose. distinguish.. ability.appropriate. for.the.recipient’s.and. research.these. and. articles.that.marketing.of.an.number. Shimp et al . access.(APR). community. comparative.. assesses. opportunities. 24%. in. analytical.article. relative.for. level.remaining.firm-generated.the.Most. to. that.is.they.2007. appropriate.a.and.discussion.. is.a. this.the.of. The. as. as. various.identify.posts. more.articles.in.those.. such.unobtrusively.in..online.decision. reflective..recent.online. then. the.forms.special.the.customers.from. of.. funnel.of. abilities.the. who. 2008. articles.dramatically.is.in. of. primary. firms.might.Another.The.content. this. level. process. structure. grouped.to.primary.3 .0.for.data.Nicholls. implications.time. eWOM. the.mercenary. survey. assesses.(2007).of. collection.are.to. theories.articles.) Level 3: specific theory A.2 . representative.various.(De.metric.the.. communities.issue.context.viral. of.role. to.eWOM.includes.part. study. to.in. that. to. on. Web. on. eWOM. 2008.a.(Riegner. are.actual. would.of. explore. methods’. The.proposes. of. the.appeared.and. articles. expect.Verhaeghe et al . data.consumers . the. apply.collecting. value.new. article.for. manipulate.this. data.for. reviewed.. investigate. provide.. &.the. Dwyer. of.funnel. 2007. quantitative.funnel. evolution.2008) . the.conceal.2 .Web.this.. the.. discussed .posters.total .collecting.measuring. for. an.2 . elaborate.each.the. should.that.stylometric. eWOM . to. 2008.them . able.analysing.a. assess.a.data.their. an. is.The.in. 2008..2008. qualitative. of.spot.0 .. research . that.conversation.in. found.topic.selection. of. The.to. season .various. online. Their.Web. would.of.utilising.articles. well.. each.Also.as. of. 2. methods. of.Bruyn..the. and.Lilien.analysis.methodology.these.of.. Cooke. lack. could.real.in.assigns. was.community. of. numerous.develops.International Journal of Market Research Vol.boards. further.who.of.who.. authors. very.PageRank. Cape.consumers. even.modelled. of.of..is.. One. Another.message.designed..of.stage.new.of.describes.focus. researchers. were. naturally.

those.meet. and WOM Explores online testimonial writing as a method to enhance brand evaluations and considers whether consumers’ tendency to exaggerate impacts their believability Studies the dynamics of online discussion communities in a research context Abbasi et al. online.. product. allows. explain.products. utilising.desires. These. resonance.strongly. of.0 can be used to examine the impact that eWOM has on purchase decisions Provides an example of utilising survey data to develop an appropriate media/ method promotional mix. the. reviews. customisation.as. (2008) Beer (2008) Cape (2008) Comley (2008) Cooke (2008) De Bruyn & Lilien (2008) Dwyer (2007) Ewing (2008) Godes & Mayzlin (2004) Riegner (2007) Schimmel & Nicholls (2005) Shimp et al.consumers. fact.their. (Clemons et al . article. The. to. differentiation..to.relate.empirical.(resonance. 2006) . variety.apply. One.most.existing. firms’.authors.and.to. that. theory . (hyperdifferentiation). including advertising.propositions.included.sought.they. hyperdifferentiation. strategies.respond.most. evaluate.that. product.. marketing . applied. the. such.. (2008) they.particular.to.empirical. promotion.that.tend. effectiveness.Forum: Word of mouse Table 3 Article Level 2 articles: analytical methods Purpose of the article Develops a stylometric analysis technique to identify posters trying to hide their identities Discusses the research implications of online discussion groups and the broad range of data that can be collected Examines the impact that consumers who join multiple online discussion panels can have on research outcomes Discusses the optimal way to manage eWOM in the form of online research panels Discusses trends in online eWOM research and the need for quality assurance standards Develops a model of the role eWOM plays during each stage of a viral marketing recipient’s decision process and presents a new methodology for collecting data unobtrusively and in real time Introduces a new metric to measure the value a community places on eWOM and on its disseminators Employs a case study of a successful firm-created web community to provide insights regarding the type of market information that can be uncovered Assesses methods of gathering data in eWOM research in the context of a new TV season Discusses the ways that consumer adoption of Web 2.an. theories. interactive media. (2007) Verhaeghe et al..eWOM .to. 306 . unprecedented..component. theories.While. mass.test. of. authors. consumers. the. the. way. analysed.they. that. and.each.closely.

this.. their. dimensions.bricks-and-clicks.whether.on. the.which. challenges. of.by.Communications.The.natural. provide. in. articles.theory. to. online. participate.approach .. personality.traditional. can.of.such. the. 2005).a.their. is.. and. of.to. to. the. (Powers.. the.of. testing. more. quality. implications. The.persuasive. the. research..theory.previous.of. for. (Ward. audiences.&.articles. 2006) . failure. to.feel. constructed. the. the. &. analysis.assigned. to. of. article. 3. these. firm .to. theories. be. article. or.another. articles.self-efficacy.4%.capital. for. researchers. articles.theories. consumers. theory. excellent. would.assault.need.theories..their. Theories.consumers.(Yi.own.that.a. affirmed.framing.in. Theories. are.purchase. consumer. of. on. frame. theoretical. regarding. that.so.brought. mobilise. group.to. opportunities. reduction.most.. Several. level.. Elaboration.others.communications.article. and.firms . the. protest.to. perceptions. product.describe.by.2005) . indicates.community.that.&. further. sites. attitudinal. impact. other.in.protest.who.are.theory. theories.1984).avenge. eWOM.. to. quality.in. detailed. of. model.4 . of.their.. the. intent. 2008) .employs. failure.. have. value.individual. and. list.identities. 51 Issue 3 marketing) .are.&.funnel .and. in.. in.sociological.(Chiu et al . quality.identity . were.the.eWOM. betrayal. of.level. the. reviews..been.do.have.and. explain.unresponsive. One. of.The. Another.online.of.. Ostrom. mass. number.for. such.context.the. The. grounds.The. various.and.this. in..influence.to.theory.power. service. Gong.a. corporate. both. spotlight..discontent.they. is.firms.describes.. to. Model. grouped. the. of.) Level 4: core assumptions Two. applies. many.service. to.communication.perceived.. 2006) .Lowry. theory. to.culture. model. which. consumer. in.context. a.Ostrom. (A.of. for. attempt.revenge .the. that.2007) . electronic. (Scheuthle et al . advocacy. 1996). direct..complaints. that. represent. Table. to.were.theory.. from..to. goal-directed.gain.as. smallest. examine. demonstrate.. as. found. on. level.only. persuasion.. overall.the. extent.(Bourdieu. public.fidelity.recent.result.as.and. and. field.social. disciplines. research .in. (Park et al ..such. quantity.attempting. (Chaiken et al . of. disrespected. Likelihood. determine.1985).explains.International Journal of Market Research Vol.recovery. The. psychology.also. 2007) . used. theories...eWOM.experiences.experience.symbolic.. from.level. An.Another. self-persuasion.article. deepest.recent. this. involvement.(Ward. the.both. negative.. studies. 307 .candidates. eWOM .together.of.the. to. influence.influences.this.feel. revealed. behaviour.They. for.service.a.total.eWOM. research . of.communication. against. shine.(Holloway et al .

(2003. in.to.from. (2007) Level 3 articles: specific theories Purpose of the article Employs a persuasive communication model along with theories of consumer value.activities. first. yet.costly. represented.locked..the. and source credibility in the context of a viral campaign Analyses how online reviews are used to evaluate the effectiveness of product differentiation strategies based on the theories of hyperdifferentiation and resonance marketing Studies whether Gladwell’s (2000) Connectors. WOM. suggested.chooses. by. building.that. organisations.2006) . provided.the. in. He.on. anonymously. of.high. messages.a. the. other. theoretical.. Mavens and Salespeople are still relevant in the new Web 2. further.If.strategy . cooperation. forums.opinion. product. marketplaces’..suggested. impact. difficult. in.of.for. that.discipline.technology.particular.. into. be. p . make. ‘filtering’. it.and.Applying.author:.forums.because.firm. or.articles.0 environment Extends the Model of Service Failure to eWOM attributions and communications Employs the Elaboration Likelihood Model to explain how level of product involvement impacts the quality and quantity of online reviews Clemons et al. analysis. to. on.. to. the. online.that.forums. surveyed.as.profits. The.and. building. these. second.then. online. (Dellarocas. theory.been.opinion. temptation. much. with. and. important. article..manipulate. messages. economics..and. messages. a.marketing.‘a.were. research.is. firm.firm.manipulate. well.consumer. developing. praise. have.to. and. issues. impact.for. biased.the.. (2005) Park et al. that. wider.of. and.have. claimed.(Dellarocas. phenomenon.maintain.considering.assurance . as.the. of.Forum: Word of mouse Table 4 Article Chiu et al. acquisition. are. that. firms... trust. a.such.to.the.or. that. applied. (2006) Eccleston & Griseri (2008) Holloway et al. the. theory. services.eWOM. against.eWOM. manipulate.firm.this. quality. (2007) Ward & Ostrom Analyses consumer intent in the context of Protest Framing Theory to establish (2006) motives for online consumer complaints Yi & Gong (2008) Describes eWOM in the context of Self-Efficacy Theory to determine the extent to which electronic service quality dimensions influence perceptions of overall quality assumptions.2003) . has. the. Chrysanthos. may.a. most.cost. personality.surplus. products. be. and. Dellarocas .mechanisms. 308 . instead. game. to..eWOM.becomes. eWOM.strategy.ceases. technologies. posting.theories.He. 1407). poised. suggested.theory .wide.considered. article. fostering. retention.not.. development. its.society. as.these.Dellarocas.brand. the. should.. more.the. the.to. invest.implications.Both. firm .in.same.range. customer.consumers.a. that. to. from. The.firm. in. the.

4. were. fact. 51 Issue 3 for.presented. empirical. were. the.classified.these. their. articles. journal. a. manipulate. the.and.that.did. can. that. specific.firm .insights. to.None.that. of. funnel. articles. primary. of.and. (1999).WOM..gathered. viral. published. the. represented. in.Finally. content.be. firms. research . Table. as.illuminated. overview.theoretical. of.of. top. to.can.to.6 . the.as.) Table 5 Article Dellarocas (2003) Dellarocas (2006) Level 4: core assumptions Purpose of the article Surveys the most important issues in eWOM research and the roles of game theory and economics in understanding the phenomenon Theoretical analysis of the impact of online opinion forums on firm profits and consumer surplus Other articles The.nor. in.of.the.found.discussions .monitoring. Greenstein.industry .. found.list.would. tourism. of.in. He.articles. that. an. firms’.of.discussed. foci .both.Helm. marketing.. the. of. level. common.(2004).. in. Werthner. published. online. of. in. marketing.addressed.travel.the.a. would. because.viewpoint.from..to. be.topic. the. final. features. viral.Keller.include. the.editors. by. did.were. but. of. firms.foundations. they.it. eWOM.as. that. articles. reviewed. be. ongoing.the. journals. of. pertained.(2007). (A.Ricci. Table. discussion.articles.offline.. fit. One. component.the.similar. of..eWOM.and.. of. user-contributed. all.(2000).from.worthy . earliest.they. list. the. articles. were.increases . medium . subset. a. added.indicate.International Journal of Market Research Vol.. (A.relates. into. four. paradigm. technologies. strategies ..find.seem..the.5 .overviews.an. such.) Table 6 Article Greenstein (1999) Helm (2000) Keller (2007) Werthner & Ricci (2004) Overview articles Purpose of the article Overview of viral marketing Describes common features of viral marketing strategies Describes insights gleaned from ongoing monitoring of both offline and online WOM conversations Discusses eWOM in the context of the travel and tourism industry 309 . that.. not. top-level. beneficiaries. grouped. Each.online.

(Zwass.. amount.in. of. love.have.concerns.vent. define.7) .indicates.ever. paradigm. feedback. business.of.marketer. mechanisms. field.firms. consumers.since.this. their.(see.in. this. ago.form. topic.face.should.(Bailey.marketers.the. of. onto. on. eWOM. the..valid. that. theory . this. step. opportunities. in. customer-created.a. and.. review.that. provide. area. 1997. for.current.met.consider. consumer.with. 1996) .the. increasing.to. the.The.who. The. Online. referent. unprecedented. and. mapping.the. to.of. blogs.ample. funnel. of. hate .Forum: Word of mouse Discussion and suggestions for future research This. to. appearance.recency.of.share. researchers.funnel.and. amplify. importance.a. eWOM.evolution.research. fashion .com. common. voices. the. provide.together.are.on. complaint. indicative. years.level. phenomenon. top. potential..Figure.remaining.Table.there. discussion. to. business. to. the.researchers. has.opportunities.never.public.this.of. firms.time.also.their.communities.stream .. status. and. 20 18 Number of articles published 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Year Figure 3 Number of eWOM articles published per year 310 . journal.diversity.who.eWOM.3) . of.none.centred. provides. eWOM. in..the.. published. steadily.the. recently. an. of. sites. &.coming. research..did.this.to. research. Consumers. is.. in. and.to.frustrations. characteristics. clearly. formats. in. that. published. of. in. type. top. is.are. The.research.the. as.have. The. the. dissatisfied. was. alike . first.not.calibre. examine.2006).second.are. and.forward. and. a.publishing. and. the. sources. consumers. the. top-level.the. Sites.increasing.in. academics.a.of. a. such. journals.of.indicate. thiscompanysucks .com. been.face. the. opportunity. (Alon. the.in. varied. incorporates.journals. boards. they.The. of. the.topics. article. unique. with. 15. work..that. hatewalmart .of. fact. as. Brunel.who. practitioners. as. typically.. response.to.of. they. of.forum.(see..very. way.for. research.articles. of.

not.consumers.429 0. provide. lends.data.196 1.196 0. might.027 0.948 1.509 0. as.631 1.977 * 1. these. otherwise. &.International Journal of Market Research Vol. exist.2008) ..027 * * * Communications of the ACM Electronic Markets (2 articles) International Journal of Electronic Commerce (2 articles) International Journal of Market Research (8 articles) International Journal of Research in Marketing Journal of Business Research Journal of Management Information Systems (2 articles) Journal of Retailing Psychology and Marketing Information & Management International Journal of Electronic Commerce (2 articles) Journal of Advertising Research (6 articles) Journal of Interactive Marketing (2 articles) Journal of Business Research (2 articles) Journal of Consumer Research Journal of Management Information Systems (2 articles) Journal of Marketing (2 articles) Management Science Marketing Science Journal of Applied Business Research Journal of Interactive Marketing Communications of the ACM Journal of Advertising Research Journal of Business Research Marketing Management Journal Marketing Science International Journal of Electronic Commerce Journal of Marketing Education Management Science Journal of Retailing Journal of Interactive Marketing Electronic Markets IEEE Micro Marketing Management 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1997 * No impact rating listed in the 2007 ISI Web of Science Journal Citation Reports 2004) . credibility.429 0. in.perception.687 3.815 1.977 1.presented. format. Blogs.395 0.818 4.395 1.(Mouncey.The.687 1.815 * 3.043 1.future.of. such. will.831 1.information. 2001) ..other.for.researchers. Schindler.of.that. sources. (Bickart.071 0.027 1. a.509 * 1. unbiased. it. that. is. rich.the. this. 311 .815 2.429 * 1. 51 Issue 3 Table 7 Journal Journals with eWOM articles by year Year 2008 Impact rating 1.371 1.818 1.

remind.possibility.to.eWOM.the.. of.concerning.power.but.leaders. eWOM ..of. value.of.for. that.practitioners.and.ignore. of. consumers.paradigm. for. which.deemed. ‘Techfluentials’. research. advance.technologydriven. As.that.manipulating. researchers. world . continue.the.importance. market.mistake.to.forum .firm. in. sense. should. understanding.are. format . proliferation.evolved.research. the.known.component.its.mentally.of.potential.consumers.. should.sites. (2003).attitudes. discount.This. factors.. opinion..a. online.would. Next. the. exists. desire. interaction.their.serve. a.2005).the. sites. of. leaders.more. marketers’. that.2004) . the.in. the.opinion.their.has. that. from. (Thorson. the. in.potential.owner.social.. primarily.consumers.the.from. for.new. result.themselves . importance. Consumers’.that. online. differ.influential.of.established.marketing. The. Researchers. theory.and. community.. academics. characteristics.period. just.volume. place.of.be. to. awareness..little. a.of.indicate. forums .these.of. extent.newfound. these. of.which.these.eWOM.of.towards.evolve.social.is.given. that. consumers.. they. possibility.. online. the. should. examine.. existing. the. these.levels. increased. what. will.arises.to. is. read. about.the. that.benefit. researchers. be. of.decision-making. in. belonging. First.this. eWOM.allow. of. &. of. decisions .a. the. paramount . in.subject. that. 2006) .the.definite..examined .becoming.Researchers. better.self-worth.these.stream.that. phenomenon .(Public Relations Tactics.WOM.of.has. by.time. surely.. onto. which.were.funnel. significant. consumers. ability. The.save. consumer.. the. a.behaviour..will.to.happens. to.some.relatively.that..breed.consumers. found. important.they.develop.. core. be. that. consumers. research.As. that.site.are. uncovered.separate.primary.If. consumers .towards. identifies.sites.firms.become.types.and..should.policy. Walsh.. surreptitiously . opinion.abuse.brands. accompanies.short.independent. examine.. informed.possibility.sites.ignore.eWOM . as.from. several. ways.traditional.factors. forums. 312 . to.. on. social...to. consumers. the. Rodgers.that.the. creates.eWOM .name. eWOM. should.make. to.to. individuals. of.is. participation.research.may. determine. and. in.the. manipulate. Conclusion The. these.them. be. social.the.attitudes. re-evaluated.this. in.to. also.implications.that.will.that.own. the.been. the.the.this. assumptions. read. challenging. mapping.Forum: Word of mouse It.potential.. the. the.compensate.enhance.HennigThurau. to. comments.participate. They. Finally..own.to.of.the.recognisable. (Hennig-Thurau et al .should.those..more. the.lead.and. existing. buying.

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.655–678 ..Segmentation.Lewis. and..23.J .exploratory.goal-directed.a.Using.Yoo.provider.the.Ruyck..513–527 .. 51 Issue 3 Phelps...An..2..Brady.N .pp .interactivity.participant-led.L .E ... behavior.23–36 .T . Schimmel.web:.(2007)..openended.28–30 ..Journal of Advertising Research.parasocial.client..impact.of.from.K .behavior .you.....&.Rodgers..(1984).6.S ....N .(1981).J ..pp .reward.the.friendships:.Journal of Applied Business Research..Horowitz.47. to.D .this?.marketing-induced. Walsh.International Journal of Market Research.127– 143 ..De.1.better..&.. In:.of.Why.D .D .47.. likelihood .(2002). Pitt.pp .and...effects.45.R .Sage.L ..Journal of Applied Social Psychology.4.next.B . 3.. design.The.–.motivations.K ..email .consequences .&.scale.consumer.C .....of.interaction .. word-of-mouth.(2008).and.L .revised..word-of-mouth..a.the.study . Ryu.pp ..penny.The. Tybout..(1971).of.(2005)..growth . Sheth..A .recipient .T ...the. Villanueva.word...and...45..Beverly.1. Thorson..4...validation ..S ..between..1.Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.by.of.model..communication...questions .(1997).39–50 .K .pp .International Journal of Market Research Vol.M ....of.on..2......&.communications..(2005).L ...Word. Price.Journal of Interactive Marketing...M .10.(2007)..birth.D .interactivity..Journal of Marketing.of.Sternthal.pp ..&.Zinkhan.34..V .antecedents.and.R .15–18 .4 .(1999)..57–71 .pp .G .......Raman.. message..35.&.to.(ed .customer.....and.4.S .F .analysis.(2008).and.Self-generated.e-commerce:...76–94 .service.of.perils.examining.M .....84–94 .media..Smarandescu.T .programs.44.Commercial.dimensions..marketing..G .A...S ..4..of.F .pp .. Shimp... real.power .a.A.Journal of Marketing.comparative. Public Relations Tactics.Communication Competence .(2007).Perry.Beatty..steps.436–447 ...38–56 .strategies . Scheuthle.1.333–348 .Relationships.... Srinivasan.M .73–79 ..negative.J .Bostrom..G .41–50 .0.of. Richins..(2007)..research:.and.thoughts:. Journal of Advertising. exploration.fidelity:.web .versus.Journal of Interactive Advertising. consumer.way....Join.C ..L .Anderson.J .L .....&.G .Watson..customers:.exaggeration .&.advertisements:.dissatisfied.S .Web.purchase.(2007).J .Customer-based.&..(1994).Marketing Management.. 11..me..are....your.4..S .Negative..and.Publications.low-risk.&..2...impact.for..78.in.71..service. an.(June).on..Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.).L ..A ..on..453– 461 .loyalty.processing.B .pp .1.Journal of Advertising Research.a..Basic.of.(2006)..E . 21..and...L ..50.pp .3.48–59 .. Sen.A.customer.firm:.a.or.&..pp ...to.(2006)..J .based..Arnould..pp .in.consumer.of.21.Journal of Marketing Research.referral.pp .Mobilio.H .63.marketing..innovations .Journal of Advertising Research.Wood.approach .12. Verhaeghe.the.L ..the..word-of-mouth.K .the.Customer..Identifying..referral.M ..mouth.along.its....M .equity.pp .Berthon...2076–2093 .&. pp ..2 .information..eWOM... Riegner.mouth .Viral..4..M . relationships.the..E ....CA:.B .reviews.&.masses:.examination.Kaiser.pp ..consumer..Journal of Marketing..toward.Lerman..and.1.pp .Word-of-mouth.47. 5.advertising:.Carabias-Hutter.acquisition.theory. Voorhees...Lowry.testimonials.Nicholls.18.5–16 .internet.blogs.on.telling.reputation...7–14 ........pp .multiple.....P .silent..&..4.(2005). development.context .G .generation.on.Calder..media ....Journal of Marketing Research.motivational.p .N .68–78 .R ..corporate.Business Horizons..Hills..The.. Stauss. 317 .B ..noncomplainers .consumer.N .&. decisions .6.A .into...(1983).of..R .an.contexts:...in.for.instantaneous.. perceived.fundamental..W . Stern.pp .responses.the.Hanssens..advertising:.Ponnavolu.plan..theory.marketing.Feick.(2004)..as.&.Journal of Retailing.D . pass.R . electronic..influencers .(2002).5. Powers.S .Global.consumption:. pp .voice.pilot.pp .35.source..the..integrated.Journal of Advertising Research.the.Schillewaert.

2..Ricci. Werthner..US .. estate .. 35. entrepreneurial.. entertainment. connections. and...complaint. pp .web. customer. doctoral.pp .Psychology & Marketing. for.220–230 .sites ..&. correspondence:. Yi..electronic. student.State.of.customer.3–8 .2.(2004).Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. experiences.E-commerce..Journal of Consumer Research....... His. research.tourism .Forum: Word of mouse Wangenheim..acquisition . About the author Michael.. atmospherics.33.model:. State. University.1. retail.Box.J . University..V .framing.(2006).introduction .. of.mjb292@msstate .Communications of the ACM.A .effect.quality.13. Marketing. a. Email:.The.T . Breazeale. online. State.. consumer. emotional..(2007). Mississippi.233–249 . with.to.moderating..to. an.587–601 . background.Mississippi. interests. on.of. at.Journal of Management Information Systems.. real. Department.. current.F .47. 12.pp .The.Complaining.(2008)...MS..role.L .the.(1996). Mississippi..9582.H .T .pp ..masses:. focus.Bayon..pp ..customer.7...edu 318 . in. third-year..chain.satisfaction.25... Address..C ..the.Gong..self-efficacy . Zwass..protest...&..Ostrom.word-ofmouth.via..&.service.branding .&.referrals. customer-created..from...Y .39762.. and.new.the.V .F ..in. consumption.and. is..Editorial. Ward.101–105 ..

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