Clarification of Answer by
12 Sep 2002 14:40 PDT
I appreciate your clarifications and patience, respree. I think I've
now located articles and studies that better meet your criteria.
First, I should note that many of the links that follow lead to
Acrobat documents, and will require the Acrobat Reader, which can be
downloaded for free from
I'm also providing one link to a PowerPoint document (I'll also
provide instructions on how to download it). If you're using Internet
have Microsoft Office or PowerPoint installed on your machine, you can
view the presentation online. If you don't have PowerPoint, you can
download the free PowerPoint Viewer from
According to a PeopleLink study conducted by a McKinsey & Company team
in September 2000 using proprietary Media Metrix data, online
community users are up to two times more likely to purchase from a
retail site than are non-online community users. Online community
users visit a site up to nine times more frequently than non-online
community users, and retention rates for online Community users are up
to twice as high as those for non-online community users. Please
...for the full report.
PeopleLink has several other white papers, and one PowerPoint
presentation, that you may find of interest. "Business Applications
for Online Community" is an Acrobat document available through this
They also have a Gartner Report PowerPoint presentation -- "Exploiting
the Power of Community"-- available from this link...
Click on the title with the right-mouse button to download. If you
want to view the presentation through your browser (IE and MS Office
recommended), the direct link is...
Please note I found this file very slow to open even through a cable
During my research, I saw a number of references to a Forrester
Research report, "Cashing in on Community", (Forrester Research,
September 1999), citing the following information, "When people are
considering buying online, about half of community users attach some
importance to the opinions of their fellow community members. One
third of them acknowledge that those opinions influence their purchase
decision. Communities offer user-generated content, message boards,
and chat, providing a valuable resource for gathering perspectives on
products and gaining insight from experts as well as from other
customers. As a result, people can get input that helps them make
informed buying decisions. Examples include product reviews and
discussion boards at Amazon, product reviews, opinions, and advice at
DVD reviews and store ratings at DVDtalk.com."
The full 19-page "Cashing in on Community" report is only available
from Forrester Research for $895.00 at this link...
I understand that your level of interest in the subject may not be
high :-), but I include the link for completeness.
An excerpt from "Winning Customer Confidence" by Lou Hirsh
(CRMDaily.com July 29, 2002) notes...
"Many sites build entire communities based on the principle of
fostering information-sharing over product pitching. Forrester
(Nasdaq: FORR) research director Kate Delhagen said this practice is
exemplified by outdoor goods retailer REI. Delhagen told CRMDaily that
REI has one of the most extensive sections of information pages
related to various outdoor activities, in addition to forums where
like-minded enthusiasts can trade tips about favorite locations and
gear. By providing such services, REI establishes trust with consumers
and has become a consistent sales winner on the Web. And online
success, in turn, has boosted the company's offline revenue."
The REI "Learn & Share Community" can be visited at...
"Building an E-Commerce Community: Friendship Sells" is a fairly
generalized article that I offer simply because it expands upon the
McKinsey findings with a quote from a McKinsey analyst,
"They also remain twice as loyal and buy almost twice as often," Brown
said. "Even people who don't directly contribute, but do read those
message boards, are more likely to come back and to buy. If they feel
a connection, they're more likely to take the next step and become
The full article can be found at...
Again, InformationWeek provides a generalized article entitled,
"Return On Interaction" July 2, 2001, that quotes from the McKinsey
report, while providing additional claims that, "the communities build
loyalty, give valuable feedback, and contribute to increased sales.
But corporate management wants quantifiable statistics to demonstrate
that the community effort is paying its freight."
And finally, InternetContent.net January 23rd 2001 issue offers an
article entitled, "Where the payoffs and problems are in hosting
online communities", which I think you'll find interesting...
Many of the links I've noted above I found through the so-called "Web
Marketing Info Center" at...
I've culled through what I felt were the links that best suited your
criteria, respree, but you might want to take a look at the listing
yourself, in case I've overlooked something.
As with the Forrester Report, a report from the Yankee Group entitled,
"The Real Value of Online Community" is available for $795.00. Again,
I include the link only for completeness. :)
The report's abstract states, "Online or virtual communities have
generated tremendous hype in the Internet marketplace due to the high
values associated with owning a large, interactive and targeted user
base. However, the financial market's ability to attribute a value to
'online community' is hindered by the term's vague definition. As a
result, companies marketing themselves as online communities and
investing in online community applications generate inflated market
valuations without the quantifiable data to verify that an online
community business model will drive revenues.
Companies currently offering or thinking of implementing online
community strategies must understand that a successful community is
contingent upon the integration of robust content and a large
interactive user base.
In this report, the Yankee Group defines the term online community and
assigns three valuation metrics that measure the success of online
community strategies. Yankee Group segments several Web business
models to identify how online communities enhance their core
businesses, and then underscores certain issues to consider when
integrating an online community component. The report's Exhibit 1
shows how the Yankee Group views the components and attributes of an
I hope this information better meets your needs, respree. Feel free to
ask for further clarification, or, if you now feel that I've answered
your question, to rate my answer.