Newsgroup participants as opinion leaders and seekers in online and offline communication environments

Alex S L TSANG*, Nan Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Online newsgroups are still largely uncharted waters for marketers. Our goal for this study is to assess the marketing communication value of Internet newsgroups. Our basic proposition is that people exercise opinion leading and, likewise, opinion seeking differently in newsgroups and in offline communication environments. We find that newsgroup participants who are offline opinion leaders rely about as much on offline sources as they do on newsgroups for seeking consumption-related opinions. We also find that, when seeking opinions, newsgroup participants are much more active in newsgroups than in offline channels. Furthermore, we reaffirm previous findings that psychographic variables are more useful than are demographics in describing the characteristics of newsgroup participants. In addition, we analyze a selection of messages posted by newsgroup participants - This is served as a behavioral verification of the commonly used self-reported survey measures of opinion leadership and opinion seeking. Based on these findings, we make recommendations to help marketers identify and influence opinion leaders in newsgroups and to turn them into "positive product information brokers".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1186-1193
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number9 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Marketing

User-Defined Keywords

  • Newsgroup
  • Opinion leading
  • Opinion seeking


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