Title: Electronic word-of-mouth: a genre approach to consumer communities

Authors: Irene Pollach

Addresses: Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus, Centre for Corporate Communication, Fuglesangs Alle 4, 8210 Aarhus, Denmark

Abstract: Consumer communities on the web provide people with unprecedented opportunities to articulate their opinions on products and services or read about the experiences of other consumers. This form of writing can be considered a truly digital genre, as consumers were not able to share their opinions with other consumers in a structured and written format before the advent of the internet. To identify the rules and conventions established by such a genre community, a sample of product reviews is examined using a methodology that combines corpus linguistics and qualitative textual analysis. More precisely, the analysis focuses on the text structure, content, audience appeals, sentence style and word choice. The results of this analysis may help improve the design of consumer opinion websites, thereby making these communities more useful sources of knowledge for consumers and companies alike.

Keywords: consumer communities; computer-mediated communication; consumer opinion websites; genre analysis; product reviews; word-of-mouth; web based communities; website design; text structure; content analysis; audience appeal; sentence style; word choice.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2008.019190

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2008 Vol.4 No.3, pp.284 - 301

Available online: 02 Jul 2008 *

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