Generating sustainable business value from information services is challenging on the web where free information and zero switching costs are the norm. This study examines the role of free comments given in a commercial information service through the lens of the expectation-confirmation theory and continuance. Data from the Google Answers web site is analyzed by structural equations modeling to test the theoretical model whereby customer satisfaction is key to continued use of the service. Customer satisfaction, in turn, is shown to relate to social interaction that takes place on the site. The model is supported by the field data retrieved from the site. The data show that people came with equal expectation, received equal service and continued to use the system if they were satisfied with it. Satisfaction was predicted by conversation. Free activity emerges as an integral part of the service in a fee-based information market, improving continuance, and thereby leading to measurable outcomes for the commercial owners of the site. The contribution of this study is twofold: First, the expectation-confirmation theory is extended by adding a social dimension to it, and second, the findings are based on unobtrusive field data rather than self-report questionnaires.
Raban, Daphne, "Satisfaction And Continuance In An Online Information Market" (2009). MCIS 2009 Proceedings. 114.