All posts by jonnewiessner

The added value of online communities

Why do people join online communities and specifically what do they feel it’s the added value of such a community. For example, Facebook, it might give you information about diverse topics or it can make you feel more connected to your friends on a social level. The aim of Mina Seraj in the paper, We create, we connect, we respect, therefore we are: intellectual, social and cultural value in online communities, is to explore the main characteristics of online communities that are able to deliver value for its users.

It’s important to find out what these main characteristics are because then the managers of such online communities can implement these findings to make their communities more interesting and valuable for their users. Furthermore, if you want to create a community from scratch you know what factors are important to make it successful. Figure 1 shows some examples of reasons that consumers want to participate in communities.


Figure 1 CCDC2017 Lecture 6 09/03/2017 Dimitrios Tsekouras RSM Erasmus University


In contrast to other research, this paper focusses on qualitative research methods. They performed a  netnography, which implies that the author actually became a premium member of the forum, which was the subject of the research. is the most active aviation discussion forums focussed on aviation. It has more than 142000 paying members.  Being a participant observer, the author could observe the forum from the inside out and apart from that the content was analyzed and interviews were conducted with active members of the platform. Using a successful platform like to identify the main strengths of an online community is valuable for the research on this topic.

The results showed that the characteristics; intellectual value, social value and cultural value are the main factors that create perceived value. For intellectual value, co-creation of knowledge and the quality of the content are specifically important. The second main characteristic is social value, specifically platform interactivity through social ties on the platform. For example, there are 500 uploads of pictures and hundreds of posts every day on Lastly, the culture value is important. created their own specific culture with norms, values, rules and regulations and this drives participants to contribute and see the value of the platform.

The observations on resulted in the formation of seven roles of contributors that create the added value of the platform. These roles have an impact on the different perceived value characteristics and therefore are important to take into account when looking at your own community.

2017-03-10 (1)

Figure 2 Roles producing online community value

The most important conclusion of the paper is that the different characteristic should exist simultaneously to get the most value of the community. For managers, these finding could help them to create a strong community and understand the community to be able to deliver value to the members and receive monetary value in exchange. (Seraj, 2012)


Seraj, M. (2012). We create, we connect, we respect, therefore we are: intellectual, social, and cultural value in online communities. Journal of Interactive Marketing26(4), 209-222.

CCDC2017 Lecture 6 09/03/2017 Dimitrios Tsekouras RSM Erasmus University


Online retargeting strategies

Already looking for a summer holiday? When you are searching for a nice all-inclusive resort in Greece for eight days, good chance that when you are on Facebook the next day ads will appear with offers for holidays. This is an example of so-called dynamic retargeting. Based on your browser history, the advertisement will appear when you are surfing on the internet. Next to that, the specific website also remembers your history and can offer personal recommendations.

It is interesting for companies to find out what kind of online advertisement strategy is most effective and will trigger the highest conversion rate. And from the customer point of view, what does the customer want to see and what kind of information does he or she need? Because retargeting is a relatively “new topic” not much is known about what information re-targeting should actually contain and in what form. The researchers of the paper “When does retargeting work? Information specificity in online advertising” were eager to find out. In their research, they focussed on whether a generic brand advertisement or specific product advertisement works best in dynamic retargeting.

The paper is based on a field experiment conducted by an online travel firm. The consumers that visited the website of the online travel firm and that looked at specific hotels, were randomly targeted with either a generic retargeting advertisement or a specific retargeting advertisement on external websites that were in the network of the company, see figure 1. The experiment ran for 21 days and data was collected for 77937 individual profiles. The measurement of success was whether a consumer purchased a holiday through the website during the field experiment.

Figure 1

The results show that overall retargeting will lead to higher conversion rates. More specifically, using generic adds will create more purchases than specific adds. The study indicates that this depends on whether the consumer is broadly interested in holidays and is still in the orienting phase or that they are already looking for specific characteristics like country, pool, rooms etcetera. (Lambrecht et al, 2013)

The main strength of this paper is that methodology, the field experiment, caused high validity and generalizability of the results. An actual advertising was tested on existing customers. Furthermore, the researchers also performed several robustness checks that provided further evidence of the found results.

An important implication for companies is to use this result in targeting different customers. Customers that are already specifically interested should be retargeted with specific ads and customers that are still in the first phase of orienting should receive generic ads. This outcome can be linked to the customer journey of the consumer.  Companies could, for example, look at research about the customer journey to determine their retargeting strategy. When the consumer is using a laptop, for example, it will be closer to purchase than when using a mobile device. (De Haan, 2015) This implication is of practical use for online companies in deciding upon their most effective advertising retargeting strategy.


De Haan, Evert, P. K. Kannan, Peter C. Verhoef, & Thorsten Wiesel (2015). The Role of Mobile Devices in the Online Customer Journey. MSI working paper series, forthcoming.

Lambrecht, Anja, and Catherine Tucker. “When does retargeting work? Information specificity in online advertising.” Journal of Marketing Research 50.5 (2013): 561-576.

Consider it sold

Opendoor is a San Francisco based start-up that steps into the real estate business, trying to make this process as easy as possible for the sellers and buyers. They are basically an intermediary in the market that brings together buyers and sellers. They buy real estate for cash, fix it and sell it for a small premium.

Business Model and Value creation

Opendoor uses an algorithm to determine what price to offer to the people that want to sell their homes via Opedoor. This algorithm includes thousands of variables, including for example square footage, numbers of bedrooms etcetera. Furthermore, Opendoor uses questionnaires to determine the preferences of the buyers and sellers, incorporating this in their model. In this way, the customers are actually co-creating the houses that Opendoor fixes. In the future, Opendoor also wants to offer customer mortgages and home decorations. Overall, the value that Opendoor adds is providing a service that takes away the burden of the customer to buy or sell houses and using the preferences of the customers in this process.

Opendoor buys family homes built after 1960 in the price range of $125000-$500000. Opendoor makes the homeowner an offer and once he accepts, inspects the house and closes the deal in cash.  The company makes money by taking a service fee of 6%, similar to the standard real estate commission, plus an additional fee that varies with the riskiness of the transaction what brings the total charge to an average of 8%. It then makes fixes recommended by inspectors and tries to sell the homes for a small premium. Buyers can look at the property and they receive a 30-day guarantee that Opendoor will buy it back if they’re not satisfied. (Forbes Welcome, 2017) (Opendoor, 2017)

Efficiency criteria and risks

When we look at the efficiency of the value system of Opendoor, we can look at two criteria, the joint profitability and the feasibility of required reallocations. (Carson et al., 1999) Opendoor definitely offers joint profitability, because consumers can easily sell or buy their homes via the platform, and Opendoor can profit by making money from the fixed houses. The second criteria is more difficult because Opendoor solely depends on investors and loans and when they don’t make profits they cannot reallocate their assets to satisfy their investors. Next to that, trust issues are also important to take into account. Opendoor cannot see the homes before they make an offer an have to rely on trust. Finally, competitors will not be that happy with Opendoor and therefore legal aspects will be important to consider while expanding.

The business model depends on whether the algorithm is right or wrong. If it is right then Opendoor will earn money, however, if the price is lower, Opendoor will make a loss. Next to that Opendoor pays in cash and loans this money. It is dependent on investors and if they encounter a low in the market they have a problem. They did not face a crisis like the one in 2008. All in all, let’s keep a close watch at this company and see whether they will conquer the real estate market.


Carson, S. J., Devinney, T. M., Dowling, G. R., & John, G. (1999). Understanding institutional designs within marketing value systems. Journal of Marketing, 115-130.

Forbes Welcome. (2017). [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2017].

Opendoor. (2017). [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Feb. 2017].

Saarijärvi, H., Kannan, P. K., & Kuusela, H. (2013). Value co-creation: theoretical approaches and practical implications. European Business Review, 25(1), 6-19.