No surprise here. Online communities are complex social organizations and participants form real connections. If I am a participant in a community of people I trust – then I might be happy to ask them for recommendations outside of our original communal purpose. (I will ask my gaming buddies – online – about cars.)
I have seen this MANY times in the newsgroups and forums I participate in.
“Ziff Davis and market research firm ConStat commissioned Surveynetwork.com to interview over 660 respondents age 18+ in mid-July–with over half (53%) of the answers coming from the 18-34 demographic. Just over a third (34%) of the gamers said they gave advice about which dealership to buy a car from, as well as how much to pay–and some 64% said they preferred to buy models that they or someone they know had owned and liked.”