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Abstract

Relational norms governing Web-based interaction provide the basis for a typology of relationship orientation manifested by consumers online. Clustering techniques are applied to survey data collected online to identify four groups: Transactional Community Members, Socializers, Personal Connectors, and Lurkers. Cluster assignment is validated by examination of segment means, under volitional versus constraint-based marketing contexts. Relational profiles are developed, differentiated by the strength of relational norms and exhibited interactive behavior. Results suggest investment in community-building infrastructure (i.e., chat rooms, bulletin boards, interactive events), has a positive effect on the future loyalty intentions of highly relational patrons. Implications and future research directions are discussed. © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and Direct Marketing Educational Foundation, Inc.