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Member Behavior in Company Online Communities

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Association for Computing Machinery


A growing number of corporations have created sites where customers talk to one another. What kind of interaction takes place on these sites? In this study, we interviewed eleven members of company online communities (COC). We found that while users initially come to such sites looking for product information, they often stay to socialize, and develop meaningful friendships with other members (even turning to one-another for support in times of personal tragedy). We present case studies of interaction on two sites for Campbell's Soup, and for MINI Cooper car owners. We found that users are drawn to these sites because the product's brand image attracts a group of like-minded individuals. Adjectives used to describe the brand are also used to describe site members. I.e., Campbell's is trusting and down-to earth; MINI is fun-loving. Implications for website design are discussed.


Rood, Vanessa; Bruckman, Amy (2009): Member Behavior in Company Online Communities. Proceedings of the 2009 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work. DOI: 10.1145/1531674.1531705. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 209–218. Sanibel Island, Florida, USA