Culture is future » Financing and economic models

06.21.2011

Always Further - Construction of an Internet Community: what strategies?

internetIn the line of the partnership of the Forum d’Avignon with international universities, PhD students of the INSEAD came to the International Meetings of culture, the economy and the media, participating to the debates of the 2010 edition, renewing this experience for the 2011 edition. The student published research publications contributing to the reflection of the Forum d’Avignon audience around the 2010 theme “more accessibility, news usage in a digital era: culture for everyone”.

One of them deals with the dynamism and evolution of the Internet Communities, such as social networks, virtual worlds, blogs, videos and photos sharing sites, etc. – Facebook, Youtube, Myspace – illustration of the new users generating social interactions. They represent a form of development of Internet but also they are at a very top position in the world-wide Internet traffic rankings and attract significant investments.  If they offer great opportunity, the publication reminds that there is a fierce competition between them. 

The study analyses then at the different strategies of these websites. Observing the construction of user communities in a competitive context, it highlights two strategies. The first one has a general approach and develops the fact that a community opened to a large number has very heterogeneous users. The other one has a specific approach: the community provides a differentiated content, with a more limited number of members but more like-minded.

The conclusions of the reflection reveal that the “generalist strategy” is often seen as an offensive but risky strategy and that the “specialist strategy” is more a defensive one to secure market.  It appears that sites may follow different paths, different approaches in their strategy. Depending on the scenario, some finally adopt a “specialist strategy” when they failed to become dominant in the market, others enter as “specialist” before opening them gradually.

The results of the study agree with the observation of market and trends, as well as the advertised repositioning of many Internet Communities websites.

 

Read the study: The Design of Web 2.0 Communities: Trading off Differentiation with Network Size by Kaify Zhang, Ph.D. student in Marketing and Milos Sarvary, Professor of Marketing

Others studies of INSEAD Ph students on their website

Credits: mike leeorg