Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Although the use of IT-enabled social features is gaining prominence on online peer-to-peer platforms, the use of these features is not well understood in the context of e-commerce marketplaces. In this study, we explain the effects of using IT-enabled social features for sellers by using data from Etsy.com, which is an online peer-to-peer marketplace for cultural goods that provides social features to its participants. Using the theory of fields of cultural production, we propose hypotheses regarding the direct and indirect impact of IT-enabled social features on sales. We find that sellers’ use of IT-enabled social features for community participation (e.g., following members) and content curation (e.g., sharing favorite items) is positively associated with their online status, which in turn is positively associated with their sales. However, sellers’ use of IT-enabled social features is directly negatively associated with sales. Overall, we find that the indirect positive association is large enough to offset the negative direct association. These results have important implications for sellers on online peer-to-peer platforms and for platform design.





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