Social anti-percolation, resistance, and negative word-of-mouth

Tom Erez, Sarit Moldovan, Sorin Solomon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Many new products fail, despite preliminary market surveys having determined considerable potential market share. This effect is too systematic to
be attributed to bad luck. We suggest an explanation by presenting a new
percolation theory model for product propagation, where agents interact
over a social network. In our model, agents who do not adopt the product
spread negative word of mouth to their neighbors, and so their neighborhood
becomes less susceptible to the product. The result is a dramatic increase
in the percolation threshold. When the effect of negative word of mouth is
strong enough, it is shown to block any product from spreading to a significant fraction of the network. So, rather then being rejected by a large
fraction of the agents, the product gets blocked by the rejection of a negligible fraction of the potential market. The rest of the potential buyers do not
adopt the product because they are never exposed to it: the negative word
of mouth spread by initial rejectors suffocates the diffusion by negatively
affecting the immediate neighborhood of the propagation front.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Nature-Inspired Computing for Economics and Management
EditorsJean-Philippe Rennard
PublisherIGI Global Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)ISBN: 1591409845
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


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