Purpose – The purpose of this study is to investigate the technical, marketing, and cultural differences between virtual communities in an industrially developing country, i.e. Bangladesh, and an industrially developed country, i.e. the USA. Design/methodology/approach – A total of 33 virtual community sites from both countries were randomly selected and evaluated based on eight criteria relating to technical, marketing, and cross-cultural aspects. The data were analyzed using analysis of variance and χ2-square statistics to identify the similarities and differences between the two countries’ virtual community sites. Findings – The study found significant differences between the countries in the use of graphics and images, the amount of advertisement and promotional messages, the choices of language, the inclusion of religious content, the frequency of message concerning group welfare, equality and loyalty, and the number of structured messages. The study also found some similarities in navigational efficiency and online product information. In conclusion, the research found gaps in the technical, marketing, and cultural aspects between virtual communities in the industrially developing and developed countries. Research limitations/implications – The research used only 15 Bangladeshi virtual community sites due to the limited number of sites in the country. Originality/value – Recommendations are made to narrow the gaps and enhance the effectiveness of virtual communities in the industrially developing country. This will help web developers produce better virtual community websites and help marketers understand virtual community users from different countries and cultures. In addition, the present research method is useful to replicate similar research in other industrially developing countries such as China and India and thus provide insights for improvements.
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||IAHS Proceedings and Reports|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|