We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,258 News Articles

Online community groups call the shots

Firms warned of 'sly sales pitches' in forums

Online user groups have seized power from vendors and are increasingly calling all the shots, according to Gartner research director Steve Prentice.

He warned vendors they need to rethink how they exploit users for marketing purposes. "These communities provide a strange and implicit trust between anonymous users," Prentice added.

While vendors can use these communities as a support centre, Prentice warned they risk savage retaliation and bad publicity if marketing is surreptitiously introduced.

"These communities are very strange entities as users will go out of their way to help someone they have never seen before and this advice is trusted without question - and in most cases, rightly so," Prentice said, adding that users aim to present accurate information in order to build online reputations.

"While we are seeing businesses successfully leverage these user groups as support centres for their products, I know of some scalps that the groups have claimed as a result of sly sales pitches slipped into a forum."

According to Prentice, the groups are an invaluable access point for customers and should be used to refine business strategy and marketing. It also provides opportunities, he said, for swift-moving vendors.


IDG UK Sites

Sony Xperia Z3+ release date, price and specs: The Xperia Z4 for the UK

IDG UK Sites

Why Intel’s vision of the future is a future I want to live in

IDG UK Sites

10 amazing, creative uses of tech – and the brands behind them

IDG UK Sites

Jony Ive 'semi-retired' into new role: kicked upstairs as Chief Design Officer