In recent years many online platforms have risen to the public’s eye. These platforms often exist of virtual communities created for several different purposes. Facebook brings friends and family together and focuses on the social part, AliExpress brings manufacturers and customers together and focuses on the transaction part. According to Armstrong and Hagel (1996) there are 4 different categories of virtual communities. Firstly interest communities are identified as communities that exist of people who share similar interests. Secondly relationship communities exist of people that come together to form personal relationships. Thirdly there are fantasy communities which are often focused on online games in which people come together for ‘shared experiences’. Lastly and the most important point of this article are the transaction communities. These communities are focused on the transaction of needs (products or services).
Do online reviews matter? Yes they do. Word-of-Mouth is a concept most of you are familiar with. WOM occurs when an individual communicates his or her preferences on an item, product or service that they have previous experiences with (Abălăesei, 2014). The traditional definition states it is ‘oral, person-to person communication between receiver and a communicator whom the receiver perceives as non- commercial, regarding a brand, product or service’ (Kaijasilta 2013, p.7). However with the popularity of the internet increasing several studies introduced the concept of eWOM.
In the last few years a lot of crowdfunding platforms have appeared or gained popularity after Kickstarter had its big success story. People like to invest in ideas they find interesting or that suit to their unmet needs. Kickstarter and IndieGogo are two examples of crowdfunding platforms for entrepreneurs who want to start a business or develop a product. However in recent years these several crowdfunding platforms have taken on different roles in providing funding (Floship, 2015).