This is not news: it was first posted in January here at The Future of Communities by François Gossieaux. In short, Dr Paul Dholokia gives the numbers that underlie the HBR study on eBay community participation, in full and without the subscription payment. Since he’s given them to readers of TFoC, kindly visit them for a direct link to the PDF.
It puts actual numbers to the difference made by being a community member, active or (honourably) lurking, in customer behaviour. And it is great:
“Over the course of a year they compared the behavior of the active participants and lurkers to that of the control group and found that:
- Lurkers and active participants won up to 25% more auctions
- Lurkers and participants paid prices that were as much as 24% higher
- Lurkers and participants spent up to 54% more money in total
- Active participants listed up to 4 times as many items
- Active participants earned up up 6 times as much monthly sales revenue
- For first time sellers who were lurkers and participants, 10 times as many of them started selling on eBay after joining the community
All in all the activities of the lurkers and participants resulted in 56% more sales during the year of the study – bringing in millions of additional dollars into eBay’s bottom line.“
This study is not about communities of practice but about customer communities; the difference, however, is quite thin in this particular case. For anybody looking for artillery in selling the concept of customer communities (useful, activity-oriented self-support communities for customers) to a staid organization, the data should prove useful.