Recent advances in the Internet have revolutionized the way people share information and choose products. Various new applications allow users to become an active part in developing content on the Web. This study specifically investigates e-commerce product search websites which allow users to search and evaluate products, share product opinions and interests, as well as communicate with other community members. Despite the increasing number of researchers studying diverse issues in this context, there still lacks a theoretical understanding of how the use of user-generated contents on these websites can actually influence people's decision making and social experience online. This study thus focuses on two prevailing design features on websites based on user-generated information – product tags and lead user exposure. Results from a laboratory experiment using a large-scale, real social-network-based product search website are reported.
Yi, Cheng; Jiang, Zhenhui; and Benbasat, Izak, "Designing for User-Generated Contents: An Investigation of Product Tags and Lead User Exposure" (2009). SIGHCI 2009 Proceedings. 6.