Consumers are increasingly sharing product interests and experiences with others on websites. For example, consumers can “tag” products using their own words and these “product tags” are then aggregated and shared with other online consumers who seek for information. In addition, highly experienced and influential information contributors on websites are often highlighted as “featured users” and serve as direct information sources. This study examines the effects of these two distinct design mechanisms, i.e., product tags and featured users. While the former facilitates feature-based product search and evaluation, the latter facilitates people-based product search and evaluation. We constructed experimental websites using actual data from one of the largest social-network-based product-search websites in China. The results show that information seekers perceive their product search experience as highly diagnostic when product tags are provided. When both product tags and featured users are present, information seekers feel that the product search is serendipitous.
Yi, Cheng; Jiang, Zhenhui; and Benbasat, Izak, "Towards Organized Search and Unexpected Discoveries: The Impacts of Product Tags and Featured Users on Online Product Search" (2010). ICIS 2010 Proceedings. 189.