The Determinants of Email Receivers' Disseminating Behaviors on the Internet

Hung-Chang Chiu
National Tsing Hua University

Yi-Ching Hsieh
National Central University

Ya-Hui Kao
Chunghwa Telecom Co., Ltd.

Monle Lee
Indiana University South Bend


Recently, a new idea for an efficient and effective internet marketing tool has emerged: viral marketing (Ives, 2005; Krishnamurthy, 2000; Strauss, El-Ansary, and Frost, 2006). In a sense, viral marketing parallels word-of-mouth (WOM) activities, but in an internet setting (Cordoba, 2001). Previous literature contends that the WOM communication process is highly persuasive and effective and therefore one of the most powerful forces in the marketplace (e.g., Bansal and Voyer, 2000).

The idea behind viral marketing is that a catchy message will be released into the online context, grow organically, become contagious, and procreate like a weed (Schwartz, 1999). Viral marketing offers two new insights. First, it depicts a world in which marketers can build their customer base with very low acquisition costs. Second, it implies a move from marketer-to-consumer communication to consumer-to-consumer communication (Krishnamurthy, 2000). A successful viral marketing campaign encourages individual consumers to forward marketing messages to others, which creates the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure to thousands or even millions of people (Cordoba, 2001).