Online word-of-mouth: A comparison of American and Chinese discussion boards

John Fong*, Suzan Burton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The important influence of peer recommendations on consumer purchases has been strongly established. However, the growth of electronic discussion boards has created a channel for online word-of-mouth (OWOM) between people who have never met. This study aims to examine and compare the frequency and content of postings on digital camera electronic discussion boards within US and China based websites. Methodology – Data was collected from the “Photography” discussion boards on eBay and EachNet (a China based website). A total of 552 discussion postings from 257 participants over a three month period were analyzed and coded. Findings – The analysis showed quantitative and qualitative differences in the content across the two sites. There were differences in the pattern of brand mentions across the two websites, and requests for information seeking behaviour also varied across the two sites; users of EachNet were more likely to request information, thus possibly increasing the likelihood of, and influence of, OWOM on this website. There were also significant differences in content, with higher country of origin (CoO) effects on EachNet. CoO effects were largely strongly negative, in particular showing high levels of negative references to brands originating from Japan. Research limitations/implications – A limitation is the inability to ascertain the nationality of the participants on the discussion boards. Future research will also benefit from an extension of product categories. Originality/value – The study is the first to examine word-of-mouth (WOM) in online discussion boards and thus provides valuable insight for marketers into this growing source of WOM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-156
Number of pages11
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006


  • Consumer behaviour
  • Country of origin
  • Cross-cultural studies
  • Electronic commerce
  • Group discussion


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