IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Using Online Conversations to Study Word-of-Mouth Communication

  • David Godes


    (Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University, Soldiers Field, Boston, Massachusetts 02163)

  • Dina Mayzlin


    (School of Management, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520)

Registered author(s):

    Managers are very interested in word-of-mouth communication because they believe that a product's success is related to the word of mouth that it generates. However, there are at least three significant challenges associated with measuring word of mouth. First, how does one gather the data? Because the information is exchanged in private conversations, direct observation traditionally has been difficult. Second, what aspect of these conversations should one measure? The third challenge comes from the fact that word of mouth is not exogenous. While the mapping from word of mouth to future sales is of great interest to the firm, we must also recognize that word of mouth is an outcome of past sales. Our primary objective is to address these challenges. As a context for our study, we have chosen new television (TV) shows during the 1999–2000 seasons. Our source of word-of-mouth conversations is Usenet, a collection of thousands of newsgroups with diverse topics. We find that online conversations may offer an easy and cost-effective opportunity to measure word of mouth. We show that a measure of the dispersion of conversations across communities has explanatory power in a dynamic model of TV ratings.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Marketing Science.

    Volume (Year): 23 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 4 (June)
    Pages: 545-560

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:23:y:2004:i:4:p:545-560
    Contact details of provider: Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA
    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:23:y:2004:i:4:p:545-560. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.