Electronic Word of Mouth: Definitions and Concepts

Electronic Word of Mouth: Definitions and Concepts

Rym Srarfi Tabbane (University of Manouba, Tunisia) and Mohsen Debabi (University of Manouba, Tunisia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9449-1.ch001
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Because of its great impact on the consumer's behavior, electronic Word Of Mouth (eWOM) has become an important concept for the researchers and during the last decade, a great deal of attention was paid to the concept of eWOM. However, despite the growing number of studies on the subject, related literature remains fragmented, possibly affecting the long term development of the eWOM research. Fragmentation of this research can be traced back to a lack of conceptualization of the term eWOM. Therefore, this chapter proposes to highlight the great impact of eWOM on consumer's behavior and to shed light on this concept. Then, this chapter will first introduce the context in which eWOM takes place, define the concept and distinguish it from other close concepts like traditional word of mouth, buzz marketing and viral marketing. At the end, the last section will focus on the importance given by consumers to eWOM.
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The Advent Of Ewom

As explained by Dellarocas (2003), the advent of Internet has generated an evolution in the way communication is made between individuals. Since the early 2000’s, the second generation of Internet-based applications (also known as Web 2.0) has emerged. Thanks to the opportunities that Web 2.0 offers, as well as the emergence of user-generated media, internet users have been enabled to generate information and control communication. Since then, this user-generated media are not anymore limited to be used as distribution channels, but used to facilitate the development and communication between Internet users. As a result marketing managers have lost control on marketing communication (Miller & Lammas, 2010).

Thanks to the shifting landscape of information and communication technology, users have begun to electronically exchange information about products and make known of their preferences and their consumption experiences through the technology offered by web 2.0 (Huang, Cai, Tsang, & Zhou, 2011). This marks the emergence of a new form of communication: the eWOM. Indeed, with the advent of Internet, consumers are gradually moving towards computer-mediated communication to obtain the information they need to make purchase decisions (Dellarocas, 2003; Kozinets, 2002).

In what follows, an overview of the different concepts that are at the origin of eWOM will be presented. These concepts include Web 2.0, user-generated content and social media. The second part will focus on the emergence of eWOM.

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