Category Archives: Technology

Free Netnography Book Links Here: Finally!!!

Netnography by KozinetsIt’s been a long time since I wrote this blog. Been a long time, been a long time, been a long….lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time. Actually, not all that lonely, but unbelievably busy, with teaching starting up, teaching social media finishing (finishing well, too), articles to review, articles written and submitted, book chapters done, serving on the JCR Policy Board, travel, and so on and so forth.

But once you get Led Zeppelin into your mindstream, it’s like a chronic thing. You can ask my Wyoming colleague Kent Drummond or the brilliant writer Erik Davis all about it. Erik’s book about Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin IV (33 1/3), is one of the most inspired and inspiring pieces of music scholarship I’ve ever read.

Okay. Last post, written almost a century ago by Internet standards, promised you free online access to my new Netnography: Doing Ethnographic Research Online

As those of your outside of Europe may have noticed, that didn’t happen. Surprisingly—and somewhat disappointingly, I might add—there was no angry revolt on this blog. No pushback at all. You were all very well behaved, like polite Canadians who will stand in the cold for 3 hours, in the middle of a blinding blizzard, just so they can pay their ridiculously high parking tickets on time. I was hoping more for angry, ravenous, outraged complaints.

“Kozinets, you promised me a damn book. Google books doesn’t even offer me a limited preview. Just a stinking cover and table of contents. Now you deliver that book unto me immed-ee-ate-ly or I swear, I am gonna…”

Okay. I’m starting to scare myself. You get the picture.

But despite your lack of expressed outrage, I was more than a little annoyed. My esteemed academic publisher, Sage, had promised Google Books access for January. Indeed, when I checked with them, they thought it was being delivered—because it was in Europe (as some of you already know).

But not in many other parts of the world, like the USA and Canada. This was a problem, apparently, widespread, with Google Books. Google Books has a checkered history of showing a lot of books that the authors didn’t want seen. Oops. Now, its gone the other way around. It won’t show the books that the authors do want people to see. Go figure.

Harriet Baulcombe at Sage, on of their finest marketing managers, has actually been scrambling for me to find a solution, and at last, we have it.

The book is available free online now as an ebook for you to read and review in its entirety. You can just click here.

If you want it all spelled out the link is at

You do need to register, but you then can access the ebook for up to 30 days, but the link only works for the month of February.

If you are the type of person who likes to invest in the future beyond February, or who enjoys the feel of a dead tree-based book in their hands (and who doesn’t), then you have options.

The book is also for sale as an ebook via at or simply click here. But, apparently, not yet for the Kindle (or iSanitaryPad, I presume).

Or you can invest your money in a bright and shiny netnographic future by buying it from Amazon here: Netnography: Doing Ethnographic Research Online. Maybe you can ask your library to buy it, then you can keep renewing it and borrowing it and reading it for free forever. Wow: think about that.

Sage has also been working with Google HQ to try to find solutions, so they may also have it up at some point on Google Books, too.

Either way, I am happy now because I have been able to keep my promise to you, oh faithful, undemanding, and perhaps-a-bit-too-well-mannered-and-complacent Gentle blog readers.

So if you are interested in how to do netnography (online ethnography), and what netnographers have found, and what some of the latest and most exciting and inspiring theories about online communities and social media area, and where that field is going, go get the book for free right now, read the book, and let me and the world know what you think. Your life will then be complete and perfect in every way. I can most sincerely promise you that (my fingers are crossed behind my back, though, but don’t worry about that).

That’s all I’d really like is for you to read it and review it and thus be completely and utterly perfect and complete. Lots of you. Lots of comments. PLEASE review it on Amazon, or on the ebooks site (preferably Amazon…), write about it here, in your own blogs, post it on Facebook, on Twitter, on your social media sites. Tell us all (especially me) what you think. Don’t be so shy.

Be complacent and book-free, no longer, for the book is free and the time for complacency is nigh, oh ye of little MySpace.

Read the book. Spread the words. Review for the world. Read and Spread, oh ye who gather in the netnoverse of bloggy pals, Read and Spread.

The Future of Marketing Research?

more-guerrilla-marketing.jpgI just finished reading an interesting new book (actually, new because it’s an updated 2009 version) about marketing research. The book is called More Guerrilla Marketing Research: Asking the Right People, the Right Questions, the Right Way, and Effectively Using the Answers to Make More Money by Robert J. Kaden, Gerald Linda, and Jay Conrad Levinson. Someone at Stray Dog Media sent me a free review copy, which was good of them (there.. my FTC disclosure guidelines have been satisfied). In sum, the book is a nice, succinct set of ideas and guideline for managers who want to understand why and how to employ marketing research, and how to understand it.

Most of the book covers the fundamentals of marketing research. Budgets, Research professionals. Research plans. Focus groups. Surveys. Questionnaires. Sampling. Applying the results of research into marketing practice.

It is a good, solid book for practitioners, particularly those in smaller ands medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that don’t have much exposure or understanding of marketing research. It explains very well why and how marketing research is vital for understanding, testing, and growing a business.

However, the book is quite weak when it comes to qualitative techniques beyond the old-style focus group, or explanation of newer techniques. Ethnography? It is not even mentioned. Depth interviews? Nope. Netnography? Are you kidding? They do mention “data mining” however, in a fairly cursory and introductory fashion. I was expecting a bit more innovation and forward-thinking from the “guerrilla” part of the marketing research. But the book is pretty old school and established. There’s not much surprising or new, or which challenges the marketing research status quo.

The part that I found most interesting, and which got me thinking the most, was the final chapter of the book, which they called “The Future of Marketing Research.” On p. 327, they quote the interestingly named “Doug User” (the perfect guy, it would seem, to conduct “User Research”) who is a Ph.D. and a senior VP with Widmeyer Research & Polling, who talks about how the “fragmentation” of consumer makes it hard to find and understand target audiences using “traditional” marketing research.

The answer according to the quote in the book is “new metrics and new methods: video blogs, online portals, emotional measurement, data harvesting, analysis of comments in online forums, and private online communities.”

This sounds like a bit of a techno-hodgepodge to me, but I think this is thinking that is moving in the right direction.

It started me wondering about the best and most informed usage and combination of newer methods for tracking market changes, diagnosing marketing problems, identifying opportunities, and staying on top of brand positioning challenges.

How might we think about mixing and matching social media marketing research and other marketing research techniques such as:

  1. Ethnography
  2. Netnography
  3. Data mining such as social media and blog monitoring
  4. Engineered or managed online brand communities
  5. Social networked brand response groups
  6. Online panels
  7. Online focus groups
  8. Online surveys
  9. Crowdsourced information-providing contests
  10. Brand wikis
  11. Neurological and physiological scans (yikes! how did that get in there?)

How are these techniques similar, and how are they different? Where and with whom are each of them more effective, or less effective? How can they be combined for maximum effectiveness and minimum cost (i.e., for real efficiency)? How can they be used along with traditional techniques to maximize the delivery of time-sensitive information to where it is nedded for maximum impact?

Taking these ideas even further….When will marketing research become indistinguishable from or inextricably linked with marketing itself? When will both of these actions become interlinked with management itself (i.e., instead of managing sales figures, and motivating a sales force, managers would also need to manage brand mention and opinion figures, and motivate a word-of-mouth consumer force)? Where would those boundaries be? Where would research end? Who would perform this new blend of research, marketing, and motivational management? How would this Social Marketing Research interface with the company management, and with Enterprise 2.0?

I postulate here that some of the most successful managers of the coming decade will find their unique competitive advantages in the living, breathing, insight-laden answers to marketing/research questions such as these.

Social Media Marketing Book Review: The Cluetrain Manifesto

Here’s another blast from the past. I remember being blown away when I first read the Cluetrain Manifesto. That book influenced my early thinking about online communities and social media perhaps more than almost any other book (not counting Henry Jenkins’ or Grant McCracken’s work…). Originally, this treatise was published online, with interactive documentation to go along with it. The book is more citeable, and exists now as an important historical document.

Here is the MKTG 6900 Social Media Marketing course “knowledge benchmark” review of The Cluetrain Manifesto: 10th Anniversary Edition by Schulich MBA student Robbie Agar.

Social Media and Marketing: A New Schulich MBA Course

Social Media logos

I’ve been pretty busy lately. My co-authors and I wrote an article for the Journal of Marketing on word-of-mouth marketing that breaks some exciting new ground (more on that soon–to be published in March 2010), I just taught a great 3-day seminar in Chicago on ethnographic research and innovation for Sony’s Global Marketing and Product Planning group (a superb group of people), my Sage Netnography book is in the final typeset proof stage and will be released in December, and I have another 15 research projects on the go. AND the baseball team I am coaching advanced to the semi-finals. Yeah!

To top it off, I started a new course yesterday on Social Media and Marketing. The course was initiated by Vanessa Barretto a wonderfully motivated and action-oriented Schulich MBA student who has been instrumental in pulling a classroom full of interested students together in less than a week. Amazing.

I thought I’d share the outline and some of the ideas with you. Here is the outline:

MKTG 6900.030: Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto Canada

Online communities, social networking sites, blogging, and other interactive uses of information technology are changing the way people communicate and understand their world. Social media is changing society, and changing the nature of marketing.

An understanding of online communities and online WOM are critical for the marketers of today and tomorrow, who are trying to be heard in a mediascape cluttered with advertisements and drenched in consumer distrust. Companies are trying to discover how to speak to consumers in a way that is more authentic, and social media marketing are begin tried as an alternative to traditional marketing tactics. But how should it best be used? What are the rules for success? It’s all brand new and uncertain.

The purpose of this course is to introduce advanced Schulich MBA students to social media marketing as a method, and then to rapidly develop your skills as Social Media Marketing Strategists. In several classroom discussions led by the professor, students will learn about the theories and practices that inform this new set of marketing techniques, and will study numerous actual and ongoing social media marketing campaigns.

We will be using a reading package and online materials to conduct a ‘real-time’ learning experience that blends theory and practice and talk and action, as well as school and business. The course will also feature guest speakers.

Prof. Kozinets has been working in the area of social media marketing since 1995, when he began writing and speaking about these topics. He was a founding Advisory Board member of WOMMA, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. His book about online ethnography is coming out in December 2009, and his article on WOM Marketing in online communities will be published in the Journal of Marketing in March, 2010.

Specific topics include:
• Terminology issues: distinguishing the different types of social media and social media marketing campaigns
• Similarities and differences between new and traditional media, and between organic
and amplified WOM
• Overview of useful theories about social media and word-of-mouthn
• How networks of social influence work
• Marketing Metrics: Tracking online and offline word-of-mouth and influence
• Building social media marketing into strategy and tactics
• Ethical aspects and codes of the industry

The centerpiece of the course will be a practical assignment. In teams of 5, you will work with a company interested in engaging in a Social Media Marketing campaign and then design and refine this campaign over the 15 weeks of the course. Your mid-term assignment and final deliverables will be based upon this practical, applied assignment. There will be no exams.

The course is realistic, applied, intense, and demanding. By studying these developing, expanding cutting-edge techniques in detail and in a realistic corporate setting, it is expected that students will gain valuable knowledge, expertise and also make valuable connections with important companies and current industry players and firms.

As with all classes, attendance at discussions and participation in them is expected. We will also be sharing online material. The deliverables for the course will be two group assignments.

* * *

In our first class, yesterday, each student was assigned a book about the topic to summarize. Here are some of the books’ titles (easy to google or amazon them for more info):

  1. Groundswell
  2. Citizen Marketers
  3. Watch This, Listen Up, Click Here.
  4. Word-of-Mouth Marketing
  5. Tribes
  6. Beyond Buzz

I welcome your suggestions of new, relevant, and interesting books.

In the next class, students will be presenting their summaries of the books, and the marketing-relevant takeaways.

The questions we will collectively be seeking to answer over the next few weeks are:

  1. What is social media? What are its characteristics? How does it relate or compare to other related terms like Internet Marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, and Web 2.0?
  2. What is *not* social media? What does the definition exclude?
  3. What kinds of social media are out there? What are their characteristics?
  4. What marketing purposes are those different kinds of social media good and not good for? How do we know?

As always, I’d love to hear you comments and see your feedback on this new course.

Journal Article Publishing: An Inside Look


In 1998, I was a junior member of the marketing faculty at the Kellogg School of Management. I was fortunate to have had a chance to meet Russ Winer, who was then the editor of the Journal of Marketing Research, during a visit he made to the school. He made an interesting presentation, and we had a chance to sit down and talk about research. I told Russ the work I was doing on netnography, which at that time was merely three conference presentations and three papers in the ACR Proceedings. I was ambitious to do more with the work.

Russ suggested that I get it ready and submit it to JMR. I was happy to do so. It took me a while to get it ready.

This series of blog entries will take you from that initial submission, through each of the rounds of review, to the final printed article. This was a key article in my career, and in the development of the method of Internet ethnography that is called “netnography.”

I will offer my comments, observations, and some recollections about the process as I present this material. I want it all to be available. It is rare that students and other scholars get a detailed, uncensored look inside the review process. I think this example is a very illustrative one, because I was trying, as a young, new faculty member interested in events that are happening right now, in the present, to forge my own way and do something that I thought was innovative and pretty ground-breaking. I was taking risks. I was also very junior, with no accepted articles at that point. No reputation, no track record.

The response that the paper got is instructive.

Here is the first round.

This is the abstract for the paper I submitted to JMR in late 1999, a paper titled “The Field Behind the Screen: Using the Method of Netnography To Research Market-Oriented Virtual Communities.”


Computer-mediated communication (CMC) has fostered cybercultures and virtual communities, many of which are market-oriented in their focus. This article develops netnography as an online ethnographic technique for market research. Netnographic techniques are adapted to the social technomediation, open participation in social groups and accessibility of social information that characterize CMC. Netnography presents flexible guidelines for conducting online fieldwork that adaptively address central ethnographic concerns of cultural entrée, fieldnotes, trust and rapport, interviews, ethics, member checks and cultural exit as well as the representation of research.

You can find a full, complete copy of that initial submission here: Field_Behind_Initial_Submission.

In the next posting, I will share the reviews and editor’s letter with you.

Deep Thinking about Deep Recession, Part VII: Turning towards Deep Economics

Remember what your Mother taught you….

In the last few postings, I’ve been analyzing the economic crisis we all face. And I’ve been wondering why we are trying to stimulate a flagging, failing, flawed economy, without making significant changes in it–while we have a window of opportunity open to us. This is the final section.

These questions are fodder for thinkers and scholars around the world. I’ve long been a fan of Bill McKibben and his work on this front, and his new book Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future is a useful start to this dialog.

I hope that McKibben’s book, and the work of others, can help to inspire a field of Deep Economics, based on a blending of the ideas of the Deep Ecologists who consider the non-human world to be valuable in and of itself.

Deep Ecology is “deep” because it brings a philosophical, and even spiritual sense to the endeavor of science, avoiding utilitarianism and consequentialist ethics in favor of a type of appreciation and even reverence for Life.

Deep ecology see Life as sacred, not only because it is useful, but because there is place deep within our psyches that knows that it is special, that as living beings we are all connected.

earth economy so deep?What would happen if we were to bring that sort of thinking fully into our lives? What would happen if we had a Deep Society, a Deep Economics, a Deep Marketing (could we?). What would change about:

  • Our work?
  • Our economy?
  • Our businesses?
  • Our academic studies and education system?
  • Our daily lives?
  • Our government?

It’s going to require all that we know. Anthropology, sociology, psychology, network analysis, environmental analysis, and economics.

What will happen when we bring it all together into something greater than what we are thinking, than what we know today, greater than what we are currently doing? What will happen when we envision and fully apprehend a Deep Society based upon Deep Principles, and implement it, act on it. Our challenge today is to build a truly different approach, to make a truly deep approach to our existence as social human beings, and sharers of a planet, real.

What will it be like? I’m hoping that we find out. And soon.

Deep Thinking about Deep Recession VI: Questioning “Growth” and “One Big Number”

Relative Size of Nation’s GDP

Globalization. Digitization. Green Consumerism. All of them, as we’ve read in the last few posts, reducing economic growth, as measured by our most popular measures. Driving us deeper and deeper into this deep recession.

What’s the problem? What’s the problem with the current solutions being offered by world governments like the G20 alliance? What’s the problem with stoking the economy, with massive Keynesian spending projects matched by huge debt and enormous deficits? With building the IMF into the overfunded, legitimizing cavalry?

The problem is we’re working with the same flawed system. We’re legitimizing it and patching it with bandaids while we pump it full of borrowed-from-our-future resources. We’re measuring growth in the same flawed ways. We’re reifying expenditures and consumption levels far, far, over their sustainable, or even long-term workable, levels. We’re using GNP and GDP as the One Big Number. One Number to Rule them all. One Number to Bind Them to a system.

There’s a big problem with that. And it requires us to look at the One Big Number and question it. And question it again.

“The world has changed and we must change with it.” Isn’t that what President Obama said in his inauguration speech? Well, I think that real change has to start with changes in what we’re measuring, with how we are keeping score.

Gross National Product and Gross Domestic Product just aren’t doing the job anymore. Maybe we don’t need replace them entirely. But maybe we can supplement them, bring in something different. Or make them more subtle, less universal and totalized. Bring a little postmodern reflexive doubt into the economic realm, for once.

One of the best books I’ve read on this topic is by my York University colleague Peter Victor. Peter’s book is called “Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster (Advances in Ecological Economics).”

Prof. Victor talks about how we have gotten into this mindframe where “economic” “growth,” measured and defined in certain very rigid ways (what I’m calling the “One Big Number” problem) by those with entrenched interests (One Big Number is easier to Rule With, remember), has become the over-arching policy objective of countries around the world, the way that governments, corporations, teams, and individuals are assessed, and the way that resources become allocated. Economic Growth is actually a fairly new ideology, emerging only about a half century ago, and Peter shows how it has become rooted to the loaded ideology of the notion of ‘progress.’

Peter argues three points convincingly.

  1. First, that economic growth the way we’ve been doing it just isn’t sustainable in the long term. Period.
  2. Secondly, he repeats the established finding that economic growth and income growth doesn’t seem to lead to happiness. There’s an inverted U-relationship. If you’re destitute, increases in income increase happiness, to some point. After that point, happiness tails off. In my observations of people, I’d say this works fairly well on an individual level, too.
  3. Finally, he shows that economic growth doesn’t and probably won’t ever, eliminate poverty. It does, however, increase greenhouse gas emissions, and has lots of related consequences for the natural environment.

His work is related to the work by the Club of Rome, recent updated in The Limits to growth: A report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind, where we see that, eventually, growth stalls out, flattens, declines, and then major disruptions in the biosphere begin to play havoc with human life.

This thinking raises some extremely important questions. These are the kinds of ideological, paradigmatic questions that the recent G20 activism, that the cracks in the global financial accord should draw us towards.

These are “Second Chance” questions to try to get out system on a better path.

These questions show us how accounting (well, at least measurement) is a critical component of making the world a better place. They ask us:

  • What should we be focusing on?
  • What should we be measuring as well as financial growth?
  • How can we develop qualitatively as a society? What would that look like?
  • Can we measure global equality and opportunity, instead of residual measures like GDP?
  • Can we measure human happiness and welfare? Can we maximize it, while minimizing the impact on the environment?
  • Can we measure the health and stability of our communities?
  • What would a carbon-neutral economic measure look like?
  • What would a zero-impact on habitat destruction look like?
  • What would a sustainability measure, or set of measures, look like?
  • What are the contributions of mental health, optimism, joyfulness, and spirituality to these other measures? How would we factor them in?
  • What would business look like in such a world? What would marketing become?

We need thoughtful answers. And we need them soon.