Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to study factors affecting the acceptance of social networking sites (SNS), analyze users' practices and behavior in these environments and assess the degree of acceptance of SNS in The Netherlands. Design/methodology/approach – An extended technology acceptance model (TAM) was used to analyze the factors influencing the level of acceptance and use of SNS applying a structural equation modeling technique. Data were collected by means of an online national survey among Dutch SNS users. Findings – Results support all hypotheses with positive relationships and influence between analyzed constructs; the only exception was the hypothesis on the relation between perceived risk and perceived usefulness. Research limitations/implications – The survey was conducted in The Netherlands. This research can be considered as the basis for a more extensive research, covering other geographical areas, that will produce results allowing more specific and accurate predictions regarding the acceptance of SNS as marketing management tools. Practical implications – The findings reveal a number of issues that are important for companies eager to explore the potential of the SNS as a strategic tool and as a means of improvement of their managerial processes in the area of marketing strategy. Social implications – SNS are considered of great importance, both for individuals and businesses, since they support and expand existing social or business networks and allow the creation of new ones. The study underlines the importance of these networks as a communications and customer engagement channels. Originality/value – The traditional TAM has been widely studied to analyze the adoption of new technologies. However, the adoption of SNS has been so far very little studied. The study provides new insights in this adoption process. Alongside this, the study added two personal variables of SNS users (i.e. trust and perceived risk), improving the traditional TAM approach.