Volunteerism and virtual community business success: The case of the Internet chess club

Mark Ginsburg, Suzanne Weisband

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Prior work has identified, in piecemeal fashion, desirable characteristics of virtual community businesses (VCBs) such as inimitable information assets, persistent handles fomenting trust, and an economic infrastructure. To date, researchers have lacked convenient settings to collect participant data to gain insight into VCB governance and success factors. In this work, we addressed this gap and studied the Internet Chess Club (ICC), a successful business that offers a rich and accessible data source for the researcher. We started with an idealized VCB success framework that stressed the key role of the volunteers. We then used an integrated data collection architecture and performed statistical analysis on the ICC members' attitudes and activities. We identified specific attitude and use segments that represent regular member and volunteer subgroups and we show that these segments and their interplay support the framework we advanced at the outset. In our conclusion, we point out the general lessons that can be taken from this case and applied to other VCBs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-343
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2006


  • Business success
  • Internet
  • Online gaming
  • Online groups
  • Virtual community
  • Volunteerism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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