Netnography – Content Characteristics of Positive and Negative Electronic Word-of-Mouth

Electronic word-of-mouth (e-WOM) is a form of social influence that takes place between consumers. During its process, the sender transmits positive, neutral, or negative verbal, visual, and/or audiovisual stimuli about a product, service, brand, organization, or individual. The online travel rating site, TripAdvisor is a virtual community built around common interests. In our empirical study we examine user opinions provided by travellers with the help of a netnography to identify specific, value-added features that can be used to characterize the content displayed there. Based on our results, dimensions of the subject-matter were identified that can help readers of the website make quicker and better travel decisions. The relevance of the research topic in a business anthropological perspective is provided by the fact that consumer behaviour on such websites has had a serious impact on a whole industry: cybermediaries (price comparison websites, booking websites, rating websites) built upon user contributions and automatic algorithms have managed to take the place of traditional, professional travel arrangement providers. In spite of that, neither consumers using these websites as a key decision factor, nor service providers (rated on these sites) have enough contextual information so far to be able to evaluate the quality of the content, which is a potential source of tension between the two market actors.

Released: Replika 106–107, 185–198.
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