Korgaonkar and Wolin (1999) categorise reasons for using the web into the following 5 motivations (taxonomy):
- Social escapism
- Economic benefit
- Interactive control
This can be of use to brands when building their online presence. Molesworth and Jenkins (2002) discuss how sites that meet a specific need better than others will be favoured and that if a user doesn’t experience the gratification they seek, they may become hostile towards the failing site. Folksonomies, where users actively categorise sites with tags, are becoming increasingly popular to signpost to others what they can expect from sites. This may promote the notion of specialisation rather than trying to offer something for everyone. The most successful sites have one very clearly defined function.
There are a number of criticisms of the uses and gratifications framework and many feel it rarely goes beyond a list of reasons for why people use media. It would be of more use if it helped define types of web users (typology) in terms of personality and behaviour. This would be a highly advantageous to brands for targeting. Traditional demographics are becoming less applicable online because a new online culture has developed. Brands are going to need to understand this to make the most of the media.