Yesilada Eds. Roccetti, C. III, Together with this publication, other subchapters are included in the same book, provided by the same authors: Dead Reckoning , , Fairness in Online Games , , Game Accessibility , , Game Event Synchronization , Furht, M. Ilyas eds. Ferretti , G. Rosa, S. Furini, M. Montangero, Diabetes: what are Italian Twitter users talking about?
Zichichi, M. Contu, S. Magnani, G. D'Angelo, V. Ghini, M. Marzolla, L. Ghini , Simulation of the Internet of Things , in Proc. Ferretti , Guitar Solos as Networks , in Proc. An extended version avaiable as a Tech. Mirri, P. Louis USA , March Prandi, P. Marzolla, F. Marzolla, Time Warp on the Go , in Proc. Draft version avaiable as a Technical Report arXiv Ghini, F. Panzieri, M. Rossi, S. Ghini, A Web 2. Mirri, M.
Ferretti , P. Salomoni, M. Salomoni E-learning 2. Manca, F. Parmeggiani, C. Roccetti, e-Learning Galore! Roccetti, M. Gerla, C. Palazzi, G. Pau, M. Cacciaguerra, S. Figure 1: Representation of a social network using LinkedIn using Site As shown in the previous figure, the social network can be divided into groups, identified by different colors according to different types of relationships.
The denser a group, the greater interrelation among the contacts, which is the case in the rightmost group presented in the figure see  for more information. Therefore, from a commercial point is important to analyze the effect of Web 2. A common perspective on the use of online social networks in business, as evidenced in the term Enterprise 2.
According to Ellis et al. The relationship between online social networks and the 3C model can be appreciated in the previous sections, with the exception that coordination is not yet as evident in such type of networks . Despite its importance from a business perspective, groupware is not useful for explaining the use of online social networks for marketing, since it focuses on internal processes and employees.
To explain the possible application of online social networks for marketing, we can rely on two other perspectives, which are discussed below. The market perspective takes advantage of the number of users in major online social networks, by considering them as a potential market. As explained before, the amount of users in several such networks are tremendous.
This situation presents valuable opportunities to do business based on the potential benefits that a company can get from such networks to promote their brands or products. Based on an analysis of 47 Web 2. Therefore, this perspective seems to be prevalent in using Web 2. However, it is important to realize that not all consumers have embraced online social networks alike. Young consumers are leading this way, followed by professionals and mainstream online consumers who have realized that Web 2. Furthermore, most existing online social networks began with a specific population in mind, and in spite of possible changes still attend such population .
Facebook and LinkedIn were originally intended to college students and professionals, respectively, and MySpace Site 19 has gravitated around young people which are music fans . Therefore, in order to properly use online social networks according to the market perspective, it is necessary first to understand their demographics the site Quancast Site 23 can be used for this purpose, since it provides demographics data for most Internet sites.
Other social networks, such as Twitter, do not make this distinction, although this network offers a service to verify accounts, so users can be certain that they are receiving messages from a genuine source Site In the case of Facebook, a company can only apply to a vanity URL after obtaining 25 fans, with the aim of avoiding users to lock in into popular names and later selling them.
Similarly to company websites, vanity URLs in online social networks can be used for marketing purposes. Third, firms can send free messages to users connected to their profiles. However, users first have to connect to the company's profiles. Processes for achieving these connections might vary between networks, but usually require that the person creating the company's profile links first its personal profile to the company's and calls the attention to his connections about it, with the expectation that his friends or acquaintances also would link to the company's profile and spread the word about the company's profile among their connections.
Fourth, several of the major online social networks offer pay services to create ad campaigns targeted at groups of users satisfying certain conditions in their profiles, such as geographic location, gender, educational background, language or specific keywords. In the case of Facebook, users of such services may pay in two ways: i clicks click-through , i. Facebook, in both cases, provides performance statistics for the ad campaign, as well as information about the characteristics of users who click on the ad Site Twitter also offers targeting ads Site Fifth, online social networks can produce powerful effects of viral marketing .
Viral marketing, or word-of-mouth marketing, is achieved when users advise or recommend their friends to use or buy certain brands or products. It is well known that these recommendations from friends or relatives have a strong influence in purchasing decisions, and they also can have a strong effect in acquiring new customers , , . This situation has created "corporate interest This phenomenon can be regarded as an example of collective intelligence or wisdom of crowds, characteristic of Web 2.
The like and comment mechanisms implemented in Facebook to recommend or comment on status updates or posts function as viral marketing instruments.
Retweeting, in Twitter, can also be considered as another such instrument. Although viral marketing has been proved useful in web applications, the effectiveness of recommendations varies depending on product category and price. Furthermore, although viral marketing at first glance might be considered as a result of the behavior of the network and not of its connectedness see section 3 , the structure and interest of the social network should also be considered . Lastly, online social networks can be used as focus groups. People in online social networks might be discussing issues related to the products of a company or to the company itself.
Listening to such conversation, known as conversational marketing, can provide useful feedback on the products and the way the company is dealing with their customers . Since customers are not aware that they are being monitored, due to the perception of being anonymous on the Internet, they speak more openly about their sentiments regarding a company, a brand, or a product, than in face-to-face focus groups . Tools, such as Google Alerts Site 14 and Social Mention Site 26 allow eavesdropping customer's conversations and obtain favorable or unfavorable opinions, which can be considered in future marketing decisions for Twitter's business applications see Site Important in this area is the analysis of sentiments for conversations , , in which Twitter excels.
The development of commercial services by online network operators based on the market perspective, particularly aimed at promoting sales of other companies, can be considered essential by the online social networks to generate revenue, and avoid falling into the same trap that victimized many e-commerce companies and ended with their bankruptcy, as a result of the dot-com bubble. Different from the market perspective, the community perspective is less evident in e-marketing nowadays. This other perspective is related to the development of virtual communities using Internet.
According to Turban et al. At least five types of virtual communities can be identified, as shown in Table 2. Although the purpose of these virtual communities is different, they all have in common the creation and support of social networks. Table 2: Types of virtual communities based on . Therefore, marketing in the community perspective should consider online social networks as communities of individuals sharing some type of relationship or common interests.
When the concept of community is added to the traditional seller-customer relationship in the market perspective, customers interact with "self-selected communities"  p. Furthermore, under the right circumstances, these communities can act very intelligently and promote innovation , , . This has given rise to the use of crowdsourcing in marketing, that is, outsourcing marketing functions to a social network see .
As it can be inferred from the previous table, the virtual communities that nowadays are most strongly associated with businesses are the commercial communities, which are directly associated with e-commerce. While e-commerce sites have not necessarily been designed in accordance to the philosophy and principles of Web 2. In the first case, for example, Procter and Gamble has developed e-commerce sites with the purpose of creating communities of users on the Internet for consumer products manufactured by this company.
Such sites have the following objectives: i to develop awareness and brand recognition, ii to collect valuable consumer data, iii to reduce advertising costs, and iv to experiment with direct sales . These objectives are particularly important for a company such as Procter and Gamble, since it relies mainly on distributors to sell its products to the final consumers.
In the second case, it is now very common for e-commerce sites to enable buyers to assess products once acquired, thus allowing prospective customers to make decisions about future purchases based on these recommendations. Online reputation systems are important to reduce information asymmetry , particularly related to quality, which seriously affects the efficiency of markets . Amazon presents a good example of this mechanism to evaluate products.
In a similar vein, eBay allows customers to evaluate the performance of vendors, providing information to prospective buyers about the reliability of a potential seller. The wish list feature this mechanism allows relatives and friends to learn about products in which a person has interest, thus providing ideas for gifts used in e-commerce sites, can be considered as another example of creating communities around e-commerce sites. These examples provide evidence of the evolution of e-commerce sites into virtual communities.
On the other hand, the integration between online social networks and e-commerce is been enhanced by tools that enable adding e-commerce features, such as catalogs, shopping carts, and payment options, into social network pages, thus allowing the creation of electronic stores in these networks. Payvment Site 21 and Ecwid Site 8 are two examples of such tools see Site 11 for a list of e-commerce apps available for Facebook. This type of integration is referred to as social commerce, term introduced in .
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The above discussion shows that e-commerce sites are evolving into virtual communities, as well as the virtual communities supported by online social networks are being integrated with e-commerce features. This situation confirms the fact that the borderlines between online social networks and e-commerce sites are more blurry every day.
As explained in the previous section, online social networks can be used for e-marketing, yet e-commerce is nowadays the premiere tool for such activity. Three major differences can be found between online social networks and e-commerce sites; however as explained in this section, such differences are not insurmountable. In first place, there is a clear difference in the purpose of online social networks and e-commerce sites.
On the one hand, the purpose of online social networks is supporting and creating social networks, which ultimately favor the development of the human web, as already explained. On the other hand, e-commerce pursues the use of electronic technologies to exchange goods and services . So, while online social networks are aimed at communicating and maintaining social relationships, i. However, in spite of this clear difference, we have to recognize that economic activities are essential part of life, and thus complementary to social activities.
In fact, "no aspect of business is more social than selling" . Furthermore, economic decisions are often influenced by relatives or friends . Therefore, we can argue that dividing social interactions from economic and business transactions is artificial. Second, the criteria for success of online social networks and e-commerce sites are different: number of contacts, in the case of online social networks effectiveness , versus quantity and volume of transactions efficiency , in the case of e-commerce.
Nevertheless, the effectiveness of the online social networks may contribute to the efficiency of e-commerce. This is due to the fact that one of the most important factors for the operation of an e-commerce site, particularly for small and medium enterprises SME , is the awareness of the site. This is a precondition for customers to be able to buy products through an e-commerce site. Although Internet search engines can help to locate e-commerce sites, the rapid and constant development of new sites on the Internet makes it increasingly more difficult to properly position a website in these engines.
Appearing first in the results of a search engine is likely to increase four times the traffic of a site in comparison to another appearing on second position . Consequently, sites that already have a large number of users and also high traffic, such as is the case with the major online social networks, provide significant benefits to host or promote e-commerce sites, particularly for SMEs.
Finally, online social networks are based on software offered by intermediaries while e-commerce sites are usually developed by the same firms. Nonetheless, this is a purely circumstantial situation. Since e-commerce involves well-established procedures, it is relatively easy to anticipate the expected functionality of an e-commerce site. This facilitates the use of existing software to generate e-commerce sites software as a product , for example osCommerce Site 20 or Magento Site 18 , or the use of existing software platforms for creating virtual stores using predefined e-commerce services software as a service , such as Amazon Webstore Site 4 or Yahoo Store Site The previous evolution of e-commerce is further enhanced by the use of mega e-commerce sites platform as a service , e.
Therefore, the above situation favors the use of online social networks as platforms for electronic commerce. This evolution is consistent with the Web 2. Social commerce, explained before, clearly exemplifies this trend. Based on the market perspective, introduced in the previous section, we can claim that online social networks and e-commerce sites are not substitutes, but rather complementary tools for e-marketing.
Due to the large number of users and high traffic that many online social networks have, these networks provide ideal conditions for advertising brands and products. This situation promotes a virtual integration between online social networks and e-commerce sites, which is achieved through links to the e-commerce site of a company in ads or messages sent using online social networks, or through e-commerce tools, such as Payvment and Ecwid, which expand the capabilities of online social networks to e-commerce. Furthermore, platforms for developing e-commerce sites also provide this type of integration, such as is the case with e-Bay Stores to Go Site 7 which allows the integration of e-commerce stores created using e-Bay's model with online social networks.
On the other hand, we can argue based on the community perspective, also introduced in the previous section, that virtual integration between online social networks and e-commerce sites is likely to proceed in the near future to the next level: physical integration. Although different types of virtual communities can be distinguished, it is artificial to separate social from economic or business interests, as previously indicated.
Business communities have been evolving into social communities and social communities into business communities. Social commerce is a result of this evolutionary process. From the standpoint of online social network operators, the evolution of their networks into business communities has the inherent advantage of providing revenue, which is needed not only to support the network operations and offer free of charge their core services to the users, but also to fulfill the profit expectations from the investors.
The situation currently faced by Facebook, regarding its revenue growth, illustrates this point. According to Timberg: "[p]art of the answer [to the reduction in Facebook's stock value], say analysts and academics, lies in Wall Street's skepticism of a founding principle of Silicon Valley's culture - that the best way to build a company is to ignore profits in favor of building a huge audience" . Although currently online social network operators have developed pay services for business to advertise and obtain feedback for their products, companies are more willing to pay for e-marketing services based on success and not on prospects for success .
In this way, achieving a sale is the ultimate success for a company, and therefore, paying a fee to an online social network operator for enabling a sale would be easier to justify than simply paying for an ad. This lesson was painfully learned by companies during the dot-com bubble. Furthermore, assessing the effectiveness of an ad campaign in an online social network is not easy.
Although the number of users is commonly used for this purpose, this number is problematic for several reasons. First, there is a major difference between registered and active users, that is, users having an account and those using it regularly. Second, fake accounts can be used in Facebook to give likes, distorting the number of real users interested in a company's product or brand pages. A similar situation occurs with Twitter, where there have been allegations of fake accounts being used to increase the number of followers.
According to a recent study by Barracuda Labs, "[f]ake users should be a huge concern to both Facebook and Twitter because of the threat they create to user trust This obviously threatens advertising revenue as organizations begin to question the true visibility and reach of their ad campaigns" . Although fake accounts are mainly created by spambots, i. Users' aversion towards spamming also affects the effectiveness of marketing campaigns through online social networks . There is not still agreement on the advantages of Web 2. Some authors warn about the potential dangers of such applications e.
In this sense, Clarke claims that "[a]lthough [the significance of Web 2. Part of the vacuity, mentioned by Clarke in the previous quote, comes from the fact that Web 2. In this regard, Constantinides and Fountain claim that "in the Web 2. As such, Web 2.
A Survey of Transport Protocols for Deep Space Communication Networks
In push marketing, companies push their products through mass communication media, such as newspapers, radio and TV. This is a one-way, non-interactive, mechanism of communication. On the other hand, in pull marketing, consumers pull at their will the product from the marketing channel. According to Harris and Rae, "social networks will play a key role in the future of marketing; externally they can replace customer annoyance with engagement, and internally they help to transform the traditional focus on control with an open and collaborative approach that is more conducive to success in the modern business environment"  p.
However, although online social networks offer excellent communication channels for pull marketing, such networks bring alongside communities, thus introducing a new element to the marketing mix: people. Judd  has proposed to add people to the traditional four Ps marketing mix framework product, price, promotion, and place introduced by McCarthy . People are at the heart of social networks and online social networks support and reinforce people's networks.
Consequently, Web 2. However, the use of Web 2. The market and community perspectives, previously presented, can be used to address such questions. As of today most of the marketing developments in online social networks has followed the market perspective. Peripheral services related to e-marketing are provided, not as core services but rather as income generation mechanisms to cover expenses and possibly generate profits, which are necessary to provide free social networking services to users.
As previously argued, from a market perspective, online social networks and e-commerce sites are not substitute, but rather complementary marketing tools. Online social networks can be used to reach prospective as well as existing customers. Consequently, as in the case of any market, the demographic characteristics of the network become relevant. Messages, as part of the social network around a firm, and targeted ad campaigns can be used to attract new customers or to offer products to existing ones. This can be supplemented by viral and conversational marketing.
In contrast, the community perspective considers online social networks as virtual communities of individuals. As such, these communities might not only serve purely social, but also economic and commercial purposes. Therefore, the community perspective fosters integration between online social networks and e-commerce sites into social commerce. This integration might originate from e-commerce site operators, such as Amazon or e-Bay, or from online social network operators, such as Facebook or Twitter. In the first case, motivation for this integration would be to enhance the e-commerce services by providing customer's recommendations and evaluations of products and suppliers.
In the second case, the drive could be to generate additional revenue by charging companies for services that enable business transactions through the Internet. This would become particularly important as the advertisement business model for the online social networks deteriorates. There is evidence that this situation is beginning to occur due to a reduction in ad rates as a consequence of growing competition in digital advertising, and the preference of retailers to target customers directly through their own e-commerce sites or through e-commerce megasites, such as Amazon .
Therefore, e-commerce researchers should monitor the developments towards the integration of online social networks and e-commerce sites into social commerce, which undoubtedly will have serious implications for e-commerce, as well as for e-marketing. The announcement of Gap, Gamestop, J. Penney, and Nordstrom to close their Facebook stores presents evidence of problems with such integration.
In this regard, Marsden and Chaney claim that these storefronts were simply clones of the external e-commerce sites, and as such did not provide any "compelling and differentiating reason to shop there"  p. According to these authors, such virtual stores were smaller and slower than the parallel e-commerce sites, without additional convenience. This seems to be another case in which a new technology is used in the same way as a previous one, supporting Turban et al.
Therefore, these Facebook stores did not complement market perspective nor were integrated community perspective with the existing e-commerce sites. While a real integration between online social networks and e-commerce is achieved, companies will have to develop strategies to combine these tools effectively for e-marketing. E-commerce researchers can then assist in this task by providing theoretical perspectives on how this integration should proceed, and also by documenting case studies from companies leading this work Marsden and Chaney  discuss some of such cases.
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