The Effects of Electronic Word of Mouth on Product Judgment and Choice: The Moderating Role of the Sense of Virtual Community


  • The authors thank the National Science Council of Taiwan for financially supporting this research, as well as Ted Knoy for his editorial assistance.

Teng-tai Hsiao, Department of Management Science, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan. No .1001, Daxue Road, East District, Hsinchu City 30010, Taiwan (ROC). E-mail:


Electronic word-of-mouth (WOM) communication influences potential consumer attitudes and behavioral intentions toward a product. Since consumers frequently assess online information based on their relationships with communities, rather than with individuals, online communities themselves function as referents for assessing information quality. This study examines whether consumer perceptions toward virtual communities (i.e., sense of virtual community or SOVC) moderate the perceived influence of product comments on attitude and purchase intention. This study manipulated 2 scenarios involving positive comments and negative comments regarding a newly issued game product. Analytical results indicated that SOVC reinforced the influences of online comments on attitude and purchase intention. Thus, marketers should consider the role of virtual communities when implementing WOM strategy online.