Investigating the effect of tangible and virtual rewards on knowledge contribution in online communities

Ruti Gafni, Nitza Geri, Peter Bengov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Crowdsourcing is an emerging trend and many Websites are dependent on user-generated content (UGC). This study examined the effect of rewards on users’ proclivity to add content or acknowledge content on Websites that are based on UGC. The study focused on extrinsic factors that are controlled by the Website management. A survey compared a sample of 100 users of The Traveler (, the Website of a leading Israeli brick-and-mortar chain of outdoor and travelling products) that offered tangible rewards, with a sample of 100 users of Waze (a community-based traffic and navigation application) that offered virtual ones. The main results indicated that tangible rewards were significantly more effective than virtual ones in encouraging users to add content, but virtual rewards had more influence on acknowledging content, although the particular reward mechanism might have affected user behavior. Many of the users were unaware of both the tangible or virtual rewards, and the foremost
source of knowledge about the offered rewards was the Website, rather than social media or acquaintances. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalOnline Journal of Applied Knowledge Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • user-generated content (UGC), knowledge sharing, social capital, knowledge exchange, monetary incentives, attention economy, crowdsourcing


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