One type of virtual community that has emerged prominently within the commercially-driven marketing research industry is the online panel. Online panels are opt-in, informed consent, privacy-protected subject pools recruited for Web-based research. Unlike virtual communities forged from interpersonal motivations, online panels represent a community of participants who have agreed to provide information at regular intervals over a period of time. This study presents and tests a theoretical framework governed by the functional theory of attitude that serves to explain motivations for online panel participation. Analysis of data from a survey administered to an online panel (N=1,822) indicates that a person's attitude toward joining an online panel will vary by his or her source of motivation, and that an online panel is capable of evoking a sense of community despite the lack of social interaction among members.