Through the proliferation of online chat rooms, online review sites, and online ratings, information technology (IT) has vastly magnified the potential impact of word of mouth. To date, minimal research has examined the relationship between online and offline word of mouth. We explore the factors associated with the variation in use of, and participation in word of mouth in these two contexts through a nationally representative sample of users as well as through actual online ratings data. We show that participation in and use of online word of mouth is a complement to participation in and use of offline word of mouth. However, participation in online word of mouth has a negative association with use of traditional offline word of mouth. In addition, the use of online word of mouth is a substitute for traditional advertising, such as television advertisements.
Awad, Neveen; Dellarocas, Chrysanthos; and Zhang, Xiaoquan, "The Digital Divide of Word of Mouth" (2006). MWAIS 2006 Proceedings. 19.