Web 2.0: The Era of User Generated Content on Web Sites

Web 2.0: The Era of User Generated Content on Web Sites

Jos van Iwaarden (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, The Netherlands), Ton van der Wiele (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, The Netherlands), Roger Williams (Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and Steve Eldridge (Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-611-7.ch118
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The Internet has come of age as a global source of information about every topic imaginable. A company like Google has become a household name in Western countries and making use of its internet search engine is so popular that “Googling” has even become a verb in many Western languages. Whether it is for business or private purposes, people worldwide rely on Google to present them relevant information. Even the scientific community is increasingly employing Google’s search engine to find academic articles and other sources of information about the topics they are studying. Yet, the vast amount of information that is available on the internet is gradually changing in nature. Initially, information would be uploaded by the administrators of the web site and would then be visible to all visitors of the site. This approach meant that web sites tended to be limited in the amount of content they provided, and that such content was strictly controlled by the administrators. Over time, web sites have granted their users the authority to add information to web pages, and sometimes even to alter existing information. Current examples of such web sites are eBay (auction), Wikipedia (encyclopedia), YouTube (video sharing), LinkedIn (social networking), Blogger (weblogs) and Delicious (social bookmarking).
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There are currently many web sites that actively involve visitors in the provision of content. The success of these web sites even depends on UGC. A site like eBay is only useful to buyers if sellers offer a large variety of products. Similarly, YouTube can only entertain visitors if there are enough contributors who upload videos in all possible categories.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Effects of UGC: The consequences of UGC for both users of the information, as well as the products/services and companies that are being reviewed.

Motives for Contributing: The reasons why people create UGC.

Online Review: A consumer’s assessment of a product or service which he/she put on a web site.

Web 2.0: The design of better systems that harness network effects the more people use them.

UGC: User generated content on web sites.

UGC Site: A web site that allows its users to upload content.

Contributions: The actual online reviews that are available for everyone to read.

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