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Viral Marketing or Electronic Word-of-Mouth Advertising: Examining Consumer Responses and Motivations to Pass Along Email


Although viral marketing has garnered a great deal of attention in the trade press, almost nothing is known about the motivations, attitudes, and behaviors of the people (those sending the email to others) that constitute the essential component of any such strategy. This article reports the results of three studies that examine consumer responses and motivations to pass along email. Implications for target selection and message creation are discussed for advertising practitioners interested in implementing viral efforts, and suggestions for future research relating to computer-mediated consumer-to-consumer interactions are presented for academic researchers.These studies were sponsored by (, an internet-based infomediary company based in Cincinnati.An earlier version of this work will appear as a chapter in the forthcoming book, Online Consumer Psychology, C. Haugvedt, K. Macleit, and R. Yalch (eds.).

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Journal of Advertising Research
  • ISSN: 0021-8499
  • EISSN: 1740-1909
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-advertising-research
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