How does web 2.0 stretch traditional influencing patterns?

Derek Eccleston and Luca Griseri
Harris Interactive

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

There is a Buzz Around Word-of-Mouth and Web 2.0

Word of mouth (WOM) is attracting increasing attention as a vital source of influence on purchase decision making. The rapid uptake of online social networking and other types of Web 2.0 applications raises the question of whether the Internet is having an impact on WOM activity and if so, what that impact is.

There have been a number of studies undertaken and books written about the mechanics of WOM, and, in particular, the precise set of circumstances which, when they come together, lead to WOM epidemics in favour of, or indeed against an idea, brand or product. We wanted to test the validity of one such concept, made popular by Malcolm Gladwell in his book 'The Tipping Point' (2000). We also wanted to explore what impact Web 2.0 was having on that concept.