Abstract: Internet users are encouraged to rate and review all kinds of services and products. These kinds of reviews are described as eWOM (electronic Word-Of-Mouth). Our central question is: are consumers using these reviews, and what is the role of eWOM as compared with commercial-marketer-generated information and advertising on the Internet. The vacation decision process was used as the domain of investigation, but also these results are compared with four other domains. The conclusion is that the roles of both types of sites are complementary. Furthermore, it was found that overall, positive and neutral/mixed contributions to consumer-generated websites are far more frequent than negative ones. Based on these findings, the implications for marketing and advertising strategies are sketched out: additional to existing strategies, market research has to monitor the eWOM about brands and, by using this information companies should flexibly adapt their advertising to the discussion points raised at the consumer-generated sites.
Keywords: eWOM, consumer reviews, marketer-generated sites, positive and negative reviews