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The internet stands apart from other media in enabling its “users” to interact. From this perspective, the internet will always be, at its core, a tool for interpersonal communication. While consumers find emotional and practical benefits in participating in online discussions, these conversations have profound commercial implications as well. Everyday consumers are wielding greater control over their media habits and their role in the commercial marketplace. Moreover, with the growth of online participation, consumers exert greater influence over the products and brands considered for purchase. Based on a study of over 4,000 broadband users in the United States, this article examines consumer adoption of Web 2.0 and the impact those rants, raves, comments, and reviews are having on purchase decisions today.
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