Association between Web Semantics and Geographical Locations: Evaluate Internet Information Consistency for Marketing Research

Association between Web Semantics and Geographical Locations: Evaluate Internet Information Consistency for Marketing Research

Kimman Lui (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong), Keith C.C. Chan (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Kai-Pan Mark (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-650-1.ch008
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Social software completely revolutionizes the way of information sharing by allowing every individual to read, share and publish online. In terms of marketing, it is an effective way to understand consumers’ perceptions and beliefs in different local regions by analyzing and comparing the web content regarding a specific product retrieved on the Internet with respect to different locations. Interestingly, incidents originated from a location may attract more Internet discussions by individuals from remote locations. Therefore, it is difficult to measure the strength of people’s perceptions between different locations if we solely rely on the web traffic statistics. Moreover, it is difficult to compare strength of perceptions retrieved by different search engines, at different times, and on different topics. To overcome these inadequacies, the authors introduce a quantitative metric, Perceived Index on Information (PI), to measure the strength of web content over different search engines, different time intervals, and different topics with respect to geographical locations. Further visualizing PI in maps provides an instant and low-cost mean for word-of-mouth analysis that brings competitive advantages in business marketing.
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Individual’s information sharing behaviors on the Internet is a popular field in information systems research (e.g. Bock et al., 2005; Wasko & Faraj, 2005). Surprisingly, people are motivated intrinsically in sharing their knowledge. Reward by money is not the primarily goal in publishing information on the Web for the public. More and more consumers prefer to publish comments on personal blogs and discussion forums. As a consequence, more and more consumers also search for other consumers’ comments in social networking sites before making a buying decision. Influence of online Word of Mouth (WOM) on buying decision has grown significantly over the past years (Riegner, 2007).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Computing: Web services that facilitate collaborative efforts from users.

Source of Information: The physical geographical location where a particular event happens initially.

Word of Mouth: User experience, both positive and negative, that is diffused in an informal way.

Source of Distribution: The physical location where people voice out, or discuss, about a particular event happens. Source of distribution may be, or may not be, the same as source of information.

Search Engine: A World Wide Web page that accepts a set of keywords as query and returns web pages that matches to the indexes with ranking.

Perceived Information: Web content, no matter facts or rumors, that is retrieved by a user from a search engine by querying a set of keywords.

Information Consistency: Degree of similarity between perceived information.

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