The Pivotal Role of Community Building in Electronic Commerce.
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Firms competing in the arena of Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce) strive to understand the new business potentials which the Internet offers. This paper considers Virtual Communities of Transaction as an important arena to realize these potentials. Since they can grow trust, cultivate a collective awareness, and stress community knowledge, they can be a valuable component of E-Commerce Sites. We focus on electronic product catalogs (EPCs) as a popular example of a component in the E-Commerce setting and propose an architecture for an "enhanced EPC" ? the Participatory Product Catalog (PEP). The PEP brings the notion of Virtual Communities to E-Commerce by combining aspects of product information and community building for business use. PEPs offer (1) the social building of trust, (2) the ability to foster the growth of valuable community knowledge and (3) the effective use of personalization strategies.