November 4, 2007
Around the Consortium: Kinset, Netnography, Globe and Mail, and Podcasts

As I wrap up a run of weekend posts for the Consortium, I wanted to point the way to a few interesting pieces that have been written around the Consortium in the past week.

First, I mentioned earlier this week that I spent some time over at Hill/Holliday with Ilya Vedrashko this past week. On Ilya's blog, The Advertising Lab, he wrote last week about Kinset, a company which provides 3D storefronts for online retailers, trying to create a virtual version of real-world shopping. He points out that shelves are filled with search results.

He concludes:

The idea has potential but I there's a lot to be done to bring it to the point where the effort of going into a 3D interface to shop starts paying off. It would be nice to be able to pick an object up and look at the back panel (if it's a TV), or have the shelf updated with merchandise similar to the item you are looking at, or stream music samples for CDs, or talk to a live or a bot assistant.

Meanwhile, Rob Kozinets writes about a topic of interest to me: the ways in which online communities might be utilized for marketing research. The business has often found ways to discredit the use of fan communities online, while accepting the shortcomings of survey research and focus groups. I have never envisioned online community research, or "netnography" using Kozinets' term, as a replacement for these other, more controlled environments, but I think these research methods do provide a good check on the limitations of controlled research, by going and finding fans where they live.

He writes in particular about companies like Cymfony, a Boston-based company that was purchased earlier this year by TNS Media Intelligence. I had a chance to talk this past week with Jim Nail, Cymfony's chief marketing and strategy officer, and I am very interested in the developments of tools like theirs to try and find ways to value online community feedback. I'm looking forward to the continuing discussion on his site surrounding the concept and how the industry is starting to better adapt to fan feedback online.

Meanwhile, C3 Consulting Researcher Grant McCracken recently conducted an interview with the Globe and Mail, dealing with many issues surrounding his work and referencing his affiliation with C3.

Finally, C3 Director Henry Jenkins writes about a variety of podcasts from CMS that have been made available. Of particular interest to C3 readers might be highlights from the Forrester Consumer Forum, Joe Pine's recent colloquium, and Lee Hunt on innovations in television branding.



I did a write up on Kinset which prompted the CTO to contact me. Both in my initial impression and after our exchange, the biggest failing I saw in Kinset was in discounting the social component of 3D shopping.


By the way, here is the link that csven is referring to.