t’s one of the most powerful forms of advertising. It’s been around forever. And now, it’s online.

Word-of-mouth advertising - consumers talking freely to other consumers - has always been a boon for the purveyor of a good product or deal and a bane to those with a problem on their hands. And consumers have always talked among themselves about brands and products. But the effects of those conversations have been limited: if a consumer had a complaint about a product or service, it might escalate as far as a letter-writing campaign.

The Internet’s changed that. Now, any consumer with an axe to grind and a mouse at hand can put his complaint in front of hundreds, thousands or more, in blogs, review features and sites, complaint sites and social networking sites. Conversely, if delighted by the product or brand, the consumer can turn to the same outlets to sing your praises.

Get the full story at Internet Retailer