As I researched the topic of user written online reviews for the book UContent (e.g., think book, dvd, and product reviews in Amazon, patrons’ reviews of items in OPACs, and hotel reviews in TripAdvisor), I began to realize that there is great power in eWOM (electronic Word of Mouth). Positive user written reviews can help a product or service flourish, and just one or two bad reviews can sink the ship.
There’s another way that products/companies seek to benefit from content contributed by customers/end-users. By doing a nominal amount of outreach, many companies have succeeded in getting customers to provide promotional content – and it’s usually done without as much as a penny exchanging hands. One example is Tiffany & Company’s “Love is Everywhere” campaign–Tiffany customers place their initials in a heart on a map of the world at a place that is especially meaningful for them, romantically speaking. Another example is “fans”shooting video for a Ford Focus ST television commercial.
This type of crowdsourcing is an area of user-generated content that I began exploring in UContent, and I plan to it cover more extensively in my presentation at Internet Librarian on October 24, 2012. In addition to the examples I provide here, I’ll present more instances of high profile companies using the crowd to promote their goods or services.