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Online Communities

Internet is one of the many technologies that humans have invented that help in numerous functions of the operations that we perform regularly. Internet is the sole technology that has turned the World into a global village and has removed the barrier known as distance. People can communicate across the globe in seconds. Things and events happening in one part of the world can be seen from another part of the World, in the same way people are aware of things that are going on around the World.

Internet makes it possible for companies to expand their business Worldwide and helps in sharing resources of one country with another (Forrest, 2002). As Internet is a very useful accessory for humans its value is also well understood by us. Internet also has a very good tracking ability of users that access it. Currently the concept of media globalization is on the rise and Internet is called the medium of the future as companies are shifting their focus towards Internet as a marketing tool. One of the most exciting feature of Internet currently is the online communities that can be found everywhere in numerous amounts.

These communities are a way to bridge cultural and distance gaps between people sharing same interest or etc. These communities are places where people can get together and discuss and share experiences or carry out different activities. These communities are of basically two types. Browser based for example Facebook, Orkut, My Space and etc. These networking websites or social websites as they are known to be have people coming from around the world separated by distance, origin, and other demographic reasons but having same interests.

In the same way the second type of communities is interactive based for example Counter Strike, World of War craft and etc. These interactive communities are places where people get together from around the World to play video games through the Internet. The concept for these communities is the same as for the browser based but the reason is different. The trend to be a part of these communities have increased immensely around the World today and people are taking out time from their busy schedules to play online games or register on these social networking websites (Weber, 2009).

This trend has been equally capitalized by organizations with a proactive approach and they have made sure that any interaction with their potential consumers should not be avoided. Organizations and businesses have used the Internet and specially these communities to full capacity according to the technology at hand. Still this usage is being termed as the beginning or early stage of Internet usage by organizations to promote or advertise their product.

There are many benefits of advertising and marketing on online communities but the most important point is to know how successful and effective your advertising and marketing strategy is. Here Internet wins the race from all other mediums of interaction in between the organizations and the people. The major benefit Internet provides is the closest measurement of how effective and efficient is your marketing and advertising on the Internet. A person’s behavior can easily be understood by analyzing the websites he or she visits over a time period.

Internet provides this option through which a person can be kept under vigilance. The IP or the Internet Protocol helps in keeping an Internet user under observation without his or her knowing. The behavior can be easily analyzed by the Internet activity of the user (Rana, 2009). This differs from other research situations in a number of ways. If a person is unaware that he or she is being watched or observed than a physiological factor comes in. The person is quite normal in the activities that he or she performs and does not have this feeling on his mind of being watched.

This helps in giving more natural and close to the reality results for any research. Hence too much faith can be placed on the analysis of objective data that has been obtained from websites, this is because as I explained earlier results are closer to the actual picture or the situation. This also results in a social image that the Internet creates due to its factuality and close to reality results. People consider the Internet to be a reliable source for obtaining data about anything. Viewing the use of Internet for research purposes can prove this.

Using Internet as a research tool helps in digging much more out of the person that is being surveyed because of the new ways of interacting with a person and it also helps in finding out more and effective factors that are causing a problem or are solving the problem. People when interacting with Internet based surveys find it more secure to give out information as they know that their identity is undisclosed hence things that used to be ignored are being studied as well making it possible for the surveyor to get better and more efficient results out of the survey.

This also helps in getting the correct amount of return for the money that is being spent on the survey. These online communities which have developed on the Internet and are increasing day by day have helped organizations and businesses a lot, but as we mentioned earlier it’s just an initial phase and a lot more is expected in the future. There are many advantages associated with online marketing on such communities. These include cheaper costs, high availability and reach.

Internet ads are comparatively very cheap and are accessible to many by almost the whole World. These advantages make it necessary for these communities to spread around the Internet for the companies to advertise their products. Another special and unique feature of these communities is the fact that when people of the same interest get together according to the field or activity the community belongs to it becomes more than easy for organizations to find specifically their target market on the Internet (Preece, 2000).

For example a community for house wives would typically be an ideal spot for a detergent making company to advertise their product at, in the same way sports wear would be typically advertised at any sports community. All these factors and some critical decisions while marketing your product that now don’t need to be taken just because it has been eased by the Internet have provided a great platform for businesses to flourish and advertise online and reap out maximum benefits. The easiest way to target these users would be to advertise on these communities which has already started on certain websites and online gaming zones.

Bibliography Forrest E. (2002). Internet Marketing Intelligence: Research Tools, Techniques, and Resources. McGraw-Hill/Irwin. Hanson W. , Kalyanam K. (2006) Internet Marketing and e-Commerce, South-Western College Pub Preece J. (2000) Online Communities: Designing Usability and Supporting Sociability, Wiley Rana N. (2009) e-Marketing Intelligence – Transforming Brand and Increasing Sales – Tips and Tricks with Best Practices, Self-Help Publishers Weber L. (2009) Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business, Wiley.

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