The Economic Leverage of the Virtual Community

Sridhar Balasubramanian and Vijay Mahajan
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 5, Number 3, Spring 2001, pp. 103.

Abstract: The virtual community represents one of the most interesting developments of the information age. There has been much popular discussion of the economic potential of virtual communities, but little empirical evidence of successful economic leverage. Beginning with some background on virtual communities, this article reviews theoretical perspectives applicable to their management and economic leverage, presents an appropriate conceptual framework to support such leverage, and concludes with some managerial guidelines for successful implementation. The article’s primary thesis is that economic activities associated with the virtual community must not merely coincide with its social interactions, but be embedded within them.

Key Words and Phrases
: Economics of communities, individuals in communities, social exchange, virtual communities.