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1.Write notes on Kozinets & Handelman 2004. Please describe their approach. What methods did they use to research consumers? What were their objectives? What are their broad findings?

2.Identify some of the themes emerging from the reviews / complaints / comments on the two web sites.

What themes do you see coming up in a single review?

What commonalities (themes in common) are there between two or more reviews?

3.Compare with the theories studied in the course: what insights do these data give you in the consumers’




4.Compare with Kozinets’ papers: what are your conclusions on netnography, in respect to



How does it help us to understand consumers?

The study of nethnography aims at understanding the customers’ behaviours, including their cultures, actors and the entire marketplace. However, the internet has offered an unprecedented chance for businesses to study the insights of their clients. During the creation of netnography, Kozinets & Handerlman (2004) realized that the online presence of clients was virtually appreciated by enthusiasts as they discussed the common consumer interests to formulate their cyber principles. In that regard, this paper critically evaluates Kozinets & Handerlman’s approach on nethnography and analyses different themes presented in the reviews and comments from customers. Stressing on the consumer’s insight, the paper also presents an analysis on theory comparison, including the strengths and weaknesses of Nethnography.


Kozinets & Handelman (2004) approached the ideology of nethnography by relying upon the literature of Alain Touraine. According to the researchers, Touraine is one of the most important and influential New Social Movement (NSM) theorists. The central contention of NSM is defined by the term ‘historicity’, which illustrates the symbolic capability of the social actors in constructing technical and cultural systems necessitated to bring up a society that is functional (Kozinets, 2006). The issues concerning historicity are fundamental in the era of the post-industrial. Due to this assumption, it is asserted that social movement study needs to be centralized to the aspect of sociology.

The research by Kozinets & Handelman (2004) encompasses different consumers and activists into three fundamental and empirical client activism sites (illustrated in table 1). On the first activist site, the anti-marketing activists’ organization, whose focus is on the mandate of advertising to influence consumerism, is illustrated. The site also shows how the methodology of advertising might affect the culture of potential clients and consumerism’s lethal influence on the ecosystem. The group sponsors and produces materials, which specifically influence the cultures of consumers and presents methods that will encourage community cynicism towards marketing. In the method, Kozinets & Handelman (2004) assured confidentiality by changing the organization’s name on the front for advertising liberation.

In the second activists’ site, anti-Nike campaigners were affiliated and collaborated during the 1990s and are recognized as a paramount social movement in history. The third activist site targeted on anti-genetically produced crop and food, which was collaboration with activists. Abbreviated as the ‘anti-GE’, the products brought together small cultivators, ecologists, anti-globalization groups and grassroots activities (Hogg, 2006).These communities framed the product as an inclusion of a wide speculation of United States’ international-centred pasting on world’s economies and ecosystems.

Objectives and Findings

Table 1: Client Activists Informer Features

The study sites had already been selected since they fundamentally attributed to the overall study of nethnography that specifically centered on critical theoretical assumptions and boycotts concerning customer consumption transitions. Once the case studies, re-evaluations and revisions were conducted, the theoretical framework and focus were resolute. Campaign informants in every site argued that they did not focus on altering some selective industrial conducts and corporate only, for instance, issuing wages to employees in enhanced nations or achieving classification regulations on genetically created products (Dumitrica, 2013). Instead, they aimed at elevating the general awareness of clients using the methodology, which resultantly changes their ideology and culture. The method’s theme of clients’ consciousness and cultural changes is an emergent goal of the research.

The main objective presented in Kozinets & Handelman (2004) work is on consumers’ movements, which illustrate certain forms of social movements that strategically change a significant number of elements of consumers’ social order connecting marketing and consumption.  Since the ideology of consumption has a fundamental role in enhancing the central mandate in the contemporary community, the movements of consumers have significantly arisen to transform and challenge the aspect of consumption (Vásquez and Kulavuz-Onal, 2012). This is further presented in the research through the propagation of consumption ideologies, which radicalise convectional reviews. The work also seeks to enhance the general understanding of consumers’ complexities and dynamics of cultural heritage. In that regard, Kozinets & Handelman (2004) apply theories that conceptualize the movement of consumers, including their different ideological mandates. As the research follows a historical trajectory of consumerism’s culture, which seems to be internationally apparent and ascendant uninterrupted, it conceptualizes clients’ movements and opposition.

Kozinets & Handelman (2004) research centred not only on social movement but on the movement of consumers also. Based on a critical evaluation of the three sites, it was found that distinction is crucial since client’s activists’ philosophical treatise essentially considers consumption and consumers as the central focus on ratifying the social order change. Despite the fact that activist informers in every site explained their effort to elevate the awareness of consumers to transform the ideology of consumerism, it was found that the cultural change theme was a distinct and additional orientation throughout the movement.

The literature work also found that the movement of consumers has an additional opposition from the conceptual bestiary. The findings further show the probability of activists’ ideologies to slip from contrasting the demerits of avaricious organizations to contradicting what the companies are evidently formulating selfish clients’ consciousness. According to Garca (2017), avaricious companies are considered complicit on the wrongdoing, yet are deceived and manipulated by malicious factors, mainstream clients and their reviews on the globe are the central mark of clients’ activists’ assumptions. This origination of standard shoppers as rivals rearranges Touraine's and other NSM speculations that see customers as activists' clienteles and the recipients of their generous works. That a contemporary development of purchaser activists with customer culture change among its objectives places itself contrary to a development of standard buyers is this present article's focal finding (Love, 2011).

Themes in Consumer Reviews

Themes in a Single Review

Review 1: WhatTF Eyyaon wrote the review on Dec 11, 2018 concerning the Gershon Luria Rental. The customer states, "Kindly do your explorations before doing any business explicitly with a landowner occupant. They are the most noticeably bad proprietors in Contra Costa and Alemeda. Their properties are known to have infringement with the rental board" (, 2018).

This review presents the theme of ‘perspective’, which provides the opinion of consumers considering the value of the product (Turpo, 2008).With this theme, the customer shows a degree of insufficiency or distraught towards a given product.

Review 2: Manjunatha wrote the review on Dec 11, 2018 concerning the Tata Sky & TataSky Setup Box. The review reads, "I have new tatasky hd (setup box) connection on 11/12/2018 morning. My supporter id is [protected]. Professionals came and introduced it to me and said that in 2 hours’ time, it will get actuate. However, till now it isn't got initiated" (, 2018).

The second review presents a theme of the ‘social setting’, which strictly considers punctuality. According to theme, consumers have their own way of living and their code of conduct is standardized (Kulavuz-Onal, 2015). Social setting attributes to the general community and various organizations in their locale.

Review 3: Lisha Elias wrote on Dec 11, 2018 concerning the issue of Brick Red Deer Store/Destiny. It states, "Today evening I got a call from a man saying he is the director. He was extremely inconsiderate and amateurish to me being a client. Was hollering via telephone and I have recorded it. Gave counterfeit name and his genuine name is Destiny. Being a supervisor, he ought to be increasingly quiet and be proficient” (, 2018).

The third review also presents the theme of ‘perspective,’ which shows what the customer understands and knows. In the review, the client understands that a supervisor needs to be honest and avoid using fake names.

Review 4: Marcos gave the review on Wed 16 Jul 2003 regarding the issue of VW Merchants being terrifying. The comment states, "My neighbourhood M.B. merchant is superb and in 6 yrs. I have been managing them. They have just irritated me once. During the time when the vehicle proceeds to the company’s vicinity, its inclination turns better since the company was under good governance than now. Clients need to be service better regarding how loyal they are to the company” (, 2018).

Theory Comparison

Again, the fourth comment above shows the theme of perspective, which shows what the client expected from the administration. According Kozinets, Scaraboto and Parmentier (2018), organizations should have a decent administration that serves the interest of both the clients and workers.

Review 5: Bertj gave this comment on Wed 16 Jul 2018 relating to the issue of VW Merchants being loathsome. The comment reads, "Having used the services of the company since the 1960s, my wife and I have not experienced any better service from the support team. We had ordered a polo product but it broke as usual. This has been the trend for years now. The management needs to consider reorganization” (, 2018).

The review shows a level of dissatisfaction from the client, which presents a theme of ‘perspective’. According to the review, it is evident that the client has a bad perception concerning the administration of the company.

The theme of perspective is presented in four out of the five reviews included in this paper. This theme connects clients’ opinions to the quality of the services or products. Moreover, it considers life based on the category termed as ‘distressful’ or ‘mad’ to necessitate a certain degree of intervention (Toledano, 2017). Consumer perspective requires service/product providers to offer services according to a certain level of assumption, which should always be consumer-friendly.

While the possibility of 'customer point of view' can be comprehended as solitary, buyer perspectives can never be comprehended along these lines. There are the same numbers of various perspectives, as there are people determined to have 'psychological instability. This is imperative to remember because individuals frequently confound an individual purchaser's involvement with 'buyer point of view' along these lines, for instance, in the event that one customer is content with an administration, they may state that shoppers are content with our administration (Tuikka, Nguyen and Kimppa, 2017). This has suggestions for buyers speaking to different purchasers.


Consumer insights on value are categorized into three: cultural, personal and consumption.

The value on culture: These values are influenced by family, cultural and social environments, which further influence the enhancement and formation of consumer beliefs (Belz and Baumbach, 2010). Relating to the social and cultural surrounding, different values represent a shared assumption concerning what is favoured.

Personal values: These values are affected by consumers’ beliefs concerning the features that are desired by them.  Such values represent those customers who are self-centred and highly consider their own needs (Seiders, 2009). 

Strengths and Weaknesses of Netnography

The value on consumption: This form of values considers particular desirable means of getting and attracting personal values. Customers attain individual values and goals through different activities and actions like economic exchanges, consumption, possession and community interaction.

Ordinarily, the conduct of the buyers keeps up a correspondence with the frames of mind they hold. Anyway, it is not difficult to both say and expect that there is by all accounts an irregularity between the attitude of customers and purchaser conduct (Belk, 2010). It is conceivable to accept that customers may hold negative shopper disposition towards the items or administrations being supported in the disputable ad yet at the same time have a halfway or positive buy aim. Beforehand it has been shown through logical proof that purchaser disposition does constantly predict people's conduct or goal to act.

The religiosity of an individual is an essential indicator of his buyer mentality and purchaser conduct towards different items, administrations, and ideas the advertisers offer through commercials (Seiders, 2009). The contention in the promotions sharpens the religious adherents and ingrains in them a feeling of offense in regards to either the specific ad or the separate items. Besides, individuals will high religiosity are expected to have affiliations with different cliques of individuals with same religious accepts thus say that the buyer frame of mind of one religious purchaser can influence or impact the shopper demeanour and conduct of different religious buyers.

Figure 1: Motivation Process

Motivation is a compelling component that influences customer basic leadership and highlights methodologies. This aspect is more likely to facilitate the purchasing propensities of buyers, these three components of the motivation process are imperative to perceive. Inspiration can be depicted as an "empowering power" that enacts certain practices that thus gives reason and course to these practices (McKechnie, 2011). As it were, it is viewed as the procedures that lead to specific practices. It can answer the inquiry "why" shoppers take part in an explicit way. This straightforward delineation exhibits the elements of the inspiration procedure and the manner by which consumer needs can prompt an activity or conduct. Necessities and thought processes affect customer's impression of what is significant and can affect their sentiments and feelings. Over years, various analysts have created diverse speculations of Motivation.



One of the strengths of nethnography is its power to help marketers and researchers to gain complete access to the ‘minds’ of consumer through the cyberspace. Moreover, this tool is unobtrusive, accurate and cost-effective methodology of unveiling the information that organizations are looking for.  


On the contrast, nethnography is undeveloped, which is evident from the systematize analyses of the present ethnographic techniques such as interviews, non-participation and participation observations.

Nethnography helps us to understand consumers by offering a number of benefits compared to other tools. It helps marketers to understand customers due to its naturalistic and rich aspect to depict the behaviour of customers.


Belk, R. (2010). Research in consumer behavior. Bingley: Emerald.

Belz, F. and Baumbach, W. (2010). Netnography as a Method of Lead User Identification. Creativity and Innovation Management, 19(3), pp.304-313. (2018). Complaints Board – Complaints and Reviews. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Dec. 2018].

Dumitrica, D. (2013). Netnography: Doing Ethnographic Research Online. Canadian Journal of Communication, 38(1), pp.1-25.

Garca, M. (2017). From ethnography to netnography. [s.l.]: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hogg, M. (2006). Consumer behavior. London: Sage Publisher. (2018). Why are VW dealers so dreadful? | Motoring discussion | Back Room Forum | Honest John. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Dec. 2018].

Kozinets, R. and Handelman, J. (2004). Adversaries of Consumption: Consumer Movements, Activism, and Ideology. Journal of Consumer Research, 31(3), pp.691-704.

Kozinets, R. W. (2006). Netnography R. W. Belk, editor. Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Marketing. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, UK.

Kozinets, R., Scaraboto, D. and Parmentier, M. (2018). Evolving netnography: how brand auto-netnography, a netnographic sensibility, and more-than-human netnography can transform your research. Journal of Marketing Management, 34(3-4), pp.231-242.

Kulavuz-Onal, D. (2015). Using Netnography to Explore the Culture of Online Language Teaching Communities. CALICO Journal, 32(3), pp.426-448.

Love, V. (2011). Netnography and the Study of Religion. Teaching Theology & Religion, 14(3), pp.247-247.

McKechnie, S. (2011). Consumer confidence in financial services after the crunch: new theories and insights. International Journal of Bank Marketing, 29(2), pp.1-12.

Seiders, K. (2009). Understanding how employees understand customers: A commentary essay. Journal of Business Research, 62(11), pp.1136-1138.

Toledano, M. (2017). Emergent methods: Using netnography in public relations research. Public Relations Review, 43(3), pp.597-604.

Tuikka, A., Nguyen, C. and Kimppa, K. (2017). Ethical questions related to using netnography as research method. ORBIT Journal, 1(2), p.45.

Turpo, O. (2008). Netnography: a research method in internet. Educar, 42(5), p.81.

Vásquez, C. and Kulavuz-Onal, D. (2012). Netnography: Doing Ethnographic Research Online By Kozinets, Robert V. The Modern Language Journal, 96(1), Pp.147-148.

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