Today I spent half of my work time to find out what a gift culture can play a role in a virtual community. Simple it is all about in a community where goods and services are given away in exchange for favors or respect. It might be a monetary value or a sort of value favor. If its online mostly the exchange of value in gift culture would highly based on service value than a physical exchange.
What a value or benefit a gift culture can give for a community? Here few benefits I found
It will increase the member interaction – A best example would be facebook. I generally use facebook gift applications to interact with them more.
Increase the site attraction and contents- Gift culture can encourage participant to interact more with the site by adding contents. Eg- In a travel community people will write reviews, upload photos if the community offer them some sort of rewards or gifts
It also can be used as a CSR activity– I really got amazed when going through the site zoomandgo.com. They reward their community members and encourage them to fund the money for a cause.http://zoomandgo.com/donate/default.asp
Draw more members to the community – It a tool of buzz marketing.
Will encourage a transaction in the web site
Encourage repeat visit and activity
In a virtual community a gift culture can play a significant role in all the activities. This can be shown in the following model