Product comparison networks for competitive analysis of online word-of-mouth

Zhu Zhang, Chenhui Guo, Paulo Goes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Enabled by Web 2.0 technologies social media provide an unparalleled platform for consumers to share their product experiences and opinions-through word-of-mouth (WOM) or consumer reviews. It has become increasingly important to understand how WOM content and metrics thereof are related to consumer purchases and product sales. By integrating network analysis with text sentiment mining techniques, we propose product comparison networks as a novel construct, computed from consumer product reviews. To test the validity of these product ranking measures, we conduct an empirical study based on a digital camera dataset from The results demonstrate significant linkage between network-based measures and product sales, which is not fully captured by existing review measures such as numerical ratings. The findings provide important insights into the business impact of social media and user-generated content, an emerging problem in business intelligence research. From a managerial perspective, our results suggest that WOM in social media also constitutes a competitive landscape for firms to understand and manipulate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20
JournalACM Transactions on Management Information Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Consumer reviews
  • Network analysis
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Social media
  • Text mining
  • Word-of-mouth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • General Computer Science


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