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BizReport : Research archives : September 12, 2007

Why do users generate content?

What is it that motivates Internet users to create and display content for a website that doesn’t belong to them and for which they get no financial reward?

by Helen Leggatt

Firstly, only 3 to 6 percent of a website’s membership adds three-quarters of the user-generated content, according to research undertaken by consulting firm McKinsey who surveyed 573 users of 4 German video-sharing websites. In addition, the research found that just 2 percent of the membership was responsible for over half of all videos viewed.

“These findings, consistent with our experience of participatory media in business settings, suggest that executives pursuing such projects should start by identifying and nurturing the small percentage of users who post quality content,” said the report's author.

So what is it that makes Internet users want to freely donate their time and effort to produce online content? Not money. None of the contributors involved in the survey were paid for their online contributions. When asked, the majority said they did it for fame and for the fun of it. Some did it to share their experiences with friends and to benefit others.

Tags: McKinsey, survey, user-generated content

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  • Creating content enhances your interaction.

    Just the thought process involved brings you deeper into the information there and, hopefully, you connect some things in your head with what's in the site.

    Making connections between your head other parts of the Universe can be very rewarding.

  • Sandi Hughes

    I agree that quality content must be correctly identified, which also brings up the issue that you can't believe everything you read. For years now, as a student and web surfer, I have cringed at the authors who quote without referencing sources. What ever happened to responsible journalism? ...and assuming those quality authors can be identified, will they be adequately referenced when their content is quoted? This sounds like just one more area that needs serious standardization on the Internet. Then again, when you are talking about social media, it's very difficult to regulate personal opinion and conjecture.

  • This just proves the old 20-80 rule. 20% of your clients bring in 80% of the business

  • This is just proving the age-old 80-20 rule. 20% of your clients bring in 80% of the business



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