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What is Word of Mouse?

Mary McMahon
Updated: May 16, 2024

Word of mouse is an electronic version of the time-tested idea of word of mouth. Numerous advertisers have jumped on this bandwagon, using a variety of innovative techniques to get their message out to consumers, and businesses all over the world rely on it to promote good reputations. As electronic media grew in importance in the late 1990s, word of mouse became a new holy grail of marketing, with a host of books, articles, and commentaries on how to get it.

The idea behind word of mouth is that people tend to rely heavily on the opinions of friends, peers, coworkers, and neighbors. Businesses have known for centuries that a bad reputation can be acquired very easily, and it is very difficult to get rid of. All a business needs is one person who complains about their service to a friend, and a bad reputation can snowball. Conversely, people who praise a business to friends can create a good word of mouth reputation.

In the rise of the electronic era, the concept of word of mouth began to be translated into a new medium, and the idea of “word of mouse” started to arise. Thanks to the instantaneous nature of electronic communications, an opinion can spread online very rapidly, and numerous forums have enabled the transmission of ideas in an increasing number of ways. Word of mouse can be passed along from person to person in the form of electronic mail, but it can also manifest in a number of other locations.

Word of mouse can be built up on review sites, which allow users to post reviews and commentary on businesses, and it can also be generated on forums, chatrooms, and social networking sites. Social networking sites are regarded by many advertisers as a very fruitful arena for generating buzz, with many advertisers creating profiles on such sites and engaging with the community.

Just like word of mouth, word of mouse is built on a solid reputation, and it must be carefully maintained. Many businesses actively work to promote a specific branding and image, so that consumers visualize that particular business when they need something, whether it's a soft drink or accounting services. Word of mouse is, in a sense, an amplified form of word of mouth, because information exchange is so prolific in the electronic medium, and thanks to archiving, it can be even more challenging for businesses to overcome a bad reputation.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a EasyTechJunkie researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By cloudel — On Nov 30, 2012

@Oceana – Internet marketing boosts business sales. There is no doubt about that.

I don't think that word of mouse works quite as well as paying for online advertising, but it couldn't hurt. It certainly has more potential than the old-fashioned word of mouth method.

By Oceana — On Nov 29, 2012

My uncle is in the business of building guitars, and he has relied on word of mouth referrals for decades. I keep telling him that he needs to get with the times and cross over into the word of mouse domain, but he is resistant to it.

I might just start doing this for him. He isn't tech savvy at all, but I think that once he sees how much a little bit of word of mouse can do, he might be willing to learn.

By orangey03 — On Nov 29, 2012

Word of mouse marketing helped my friend build up her restaurant business. She had no budget for advertising, because she had spent her entire business loan on preparations for the restaurant, so word of mouse was all she could rely on.

Since her food was delicious, this method worked out very well. She just had a few friends and family email their friends about how great the food was there, and pretty soon, she had a lot of visitors to her website, many of whom were commenting on how much they loved the food.

There is nothing quite as powerful as word of mouse when it comes to getting people to try out a new place. If others are vouching for it, then people feel much more confident that their experience will be a good one, too.

By feasting — On Nov 28, 2012

I always thought that “word of mouse” was a misunderstood term. I thought that people who said it really meant to say “word of mouth.” I feel silly now!

By mitchell14 — On Feb 09, 2011

The power of modern social media and the effect of things spread by "word of mouse" is growing constantly. If done well, it can be a good way to gain word of mouth business for almost no money at all.

By elizabeth23 — On Feb 08, 2011

I love this. What an excellent pun on a classic part of media and general socialization. As a linguistics nerd, I am very amused.

By anon82491 — On May 06, 2010

I have been to Internet world this year in London and it is all about word of mouse and social networking. What was interesting to me how many B2B companies seem to be interested in this, although they do not know how it actually applies to their business and how specific and a niche section of the market can actually fully benefit from this.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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