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E-business and theintermediary role ofvirtual communities

P. K. Kannan, Ai-Mei Changand Andrew B. Whinston

Introduction

While the term ‘virtual community’ may be relatively new, the concept is not. Such a conception existed even in the early days of e-mail when researchers used the online medium to exchange ideas and information and to collaborate on research projects. For example, the Unix operating system and its derivatives, Sendmail software, and other similar products were developed collaboratively as ‘open source software’ on the online medium (e-mail, Usenet discussion boards) by researchers and programmers who hardly interacted with each other face-to-face. Many online services also provided local bulletin boards for special interest ...

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