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  • 1.
    Ghazisaeedi, Mehdi
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
    Steyn, Peter
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
    Heerden, Gene van
    Trustworthiness of product review blogs: a source trustworthiness scale validation2012In: African Journal of Business Management, ISSN 1993-8233, E-ISSN 1993-8233, Vol. 6, no 25, p. 7498-7508Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    With the introduction of Web 2.0, online blogging has established its place in the lexicon of public relations management. Especially blogs that offer reviews of products, services and technologies, have become essential to practitioners of public relations in their dialogue with the market place. From a public relations perspective, this paper addresses the source trustworthiness of product review blogs among online consumers, and whether consumer demographics have a significant impact on their level of trust. This paper reports the adaptation of a scale to measure the construct of source trustworthiness in the context of blogs. The results of a survey among 169 Australian online consumers confirmed the validity of the scale in the blogging context. Findings suggest that while source trustworthiness does not appear to be strongly related to either gender or level of education, younger consumers exhibit higher levels of source trustworthiness. Managerial implications are drawn from these findings and avenues for future research are identified.

  • 2.
    Heerden, Gene van
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
    Collaborating and communicating in new media - wiki's, social networks and blogs: a qualitative and quantitative approach2010Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The Web 2.0 environment has created a platform where the power and voice have shifted from organization to market. Communities, networks and the developments in information communication technologies have enabled the average consumer to become an active participant in creating and recreating value. This thesis identified three categories of the Web 2.0 environment Open Source, social networks and blogs to illustrate that valuable information exists in these platforms. This information is at the core of the collaboration activities and provides opportunities to develop competence in market knowledge. New ways of doing research and creating dialogue are needed in these collaborative platforms. This thesis reports on the five studies conducted in the Web 2.0 environment and the impact on collaboration and communication with the market. In the first instance, the nature of Open Source projects creates opportunities for organizations to collaborate and create value. Secondly, networks provide organizations with valuable information specifically with regards to structure and relationships. Lastly, this thesis discusses the importance of learning about blogs and the collaborative nature of these tools by including the perceptions of both blog readers and bloggers. Furthermore organizations need to understand the structure of such tools in order to leverage on its collaborative capabilities. The thesis concludes with the insights gained from these issues to provide organizations the opportunity to listen to the voice of the market in an attempt to optimize on the opportunities that exist.

  • 3. Heerden, Gene van
    Product, services and technology review blogs: a proposed model to explain consumer scepticism2010In: Communicare, ISSN 0259-0069, Vol. 29, no 2, p. 69-84Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    While much research has been conducted on consumer skepticism about advertising, limited attention has been focused on the relationship between gender and scepticism. As the Internet and new technologies continuously transform corporate communications, the relationship between gender and scepticism in new media such as the blogosphere begs further research. This article focuses on consumer scepticism of blogs that review products, services and technologies. Demographic variables - and particularly gender - are commonly employed to segment target audiences in an attempt to fit appeals specifically directed at males or females, or both. This article investigates three associated relationships: first, when gender is a significant predictor of consumer scepticism of blogs; second, when a relationship exists between scepticism as a predictor of the frequency of blogs accessed; and lastly, when scepticism is a predictor of the number of blogs visited. Data from Australia and South Africa provide the findings and offer guidance to practitioners for their new media selection and gender-based communication messages

  • 4. Heerden, Gene van
    et al.
    Salehi-Sangari, Esmail
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
    Pitt, Leyland
    Caruana, Albert
    University of Malta.
    Do b2b bloggers believe in blogs?: PR insights on blogger skepticism2010In: Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal, ISSN 1440-4389, E-ISSN 1839-8227, Vol. 10, p. 123-132Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 5.
    Merwe, R. van der
    et al.
    eBay, Inc. San Jose.
    Heerden, Gene van
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
    Finding and utilizing opinion leaders: social networks and the power of relationships2009In: South African Journal of Business Management, ISSN 0378-9098, Vol. 40, no 3, p. 65-76Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research suggests that consumer choice is sub-optimal: simply we satisfice. Limited data, time and expertise render our rationality ‘bounded'. The opinion leader offers a solution to this problem: when faced with a complex choice, we often seek the opinion of an expert. The Web has fueled an unprecedented expansion of this strategy by enabling ‘virtual' opinion leaders (see Web sites such as Epinions.com and Amazon.com). However, despite its rise in popularity, opinion leadership has received limited attention in the advertising literature. It is this hiatus that we address and in doing so seek to make two potentially important contributions to the wider research on opinion leadership. First, we link opinion leadership to social network theory and show that, those at individuals who are central to social networks serve as opinion leaders. Second, we challenge the assumption that opinion leadership is monomorphic (topic specific) by showing that domain-specific opinion leadership is strongly related to general opinion leadership.Our paper is set out as follows. First, we provide overviews of the literatures on opinion leadership and social networks. Second, we outline our methodology and present the results of an empirical study. Finally, we delimit the research, present a framework for identifying opinion leaders, identify key implications, and explore potential avenues for future research.

  • 6.
    Nel, Deon
    et al.
    Flinders Business School, Flinders University, Adelaide.
    Heerden, Gene van
    Chan, Anthony
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences.
    Ghazisaeedi, Mehdi
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
    Halvorson, Wade
    Steyn, Peter
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
    Eleven years of scholarly research in the Journal of Services Marketing2011In: Journal of Services Marketing, ISSN 0887-6045, E-ISSN 0887-6045, Vol. 25, no 1, p. 4-13Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The publication of papers in scholarly journals is an important channel for the dissemination of academic knowledge. Analyzing academic content provides useful insights into how services marketing evolves over a selected time frame. The purpose of this paper is to determine key trends published in the Journal of Services Marketing during the recent 11-year period from 1998 to 2008. Design/methodology/approach: This paper presents a content analysis of the papers published in the Journal of Services Marketing during the period 1998-2008. A total of 417 papers, excluding book reviews, were analyzed. Descriptive statistics provide an overview of the research contributions. Findings: The main finding is that most of the papers published in the Journal of Services Marketing during the recent 11-year period are researchbased papers. Other findings include a trend towards co-authorship, the use of surveys and empirical data, adults as research subjects, factor analysis, structural equation modeling, and analysis of variance as the most popular statistical techniques. Based on a keyword analysis most papers are related to service quality and customer service. Practical implications: Researchers who wish to publish in this journal can use the findings as a guideline in preparing for their submission. The study gives an overview of the types of papers published in this journal. The analysis also shows that there is no preference for a particular topic for publication which stimulates new and varied contribution from researchers. Originality/value: This is the first content analysis conducted of the scholarly contribution to this journal that shows the trends in services research topics

  • 7. Pitt, Leyland
    et al.
    Steyn, Peter
    Salehi-Sangari, Esmail
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
    Heerden, Gene van
    Terblanche, N.
    University of Stellenbosch.
    Consumer skepticism and blogs: implications for marketing communicators2010Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 8. Steyn, Peter
    et al.
    Ewing, Michael T.
    Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.
    Pitt, Leyland
    Windisch, Lydia
    Heerden, Gene van
    University of Pretoria.
    From whence it came: Understanding source effects in consumer generated advertising2011In: International Journal of Advertising, ISSN 0265-0487, E-ISSN 1759-3948, Vol. 30, no 1, p. 133-160Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Web 2.0 technologies are empowering consumers to co-produce online brand communications and thereby co-create brand meaning. As both consumers and marketers are increasingly using video-sharing websites to showcase their brand communication efforts, viewers of these ads are inadvertently becoming part of the co-production process as they create context around the ads (in the forms of reviews, comments and ratings). The environment in which such online advertisements are viewed has significant effects on consumer perceptions of the ad message, and ultimately impacts the persuasive properties and efficacy of the ad. This study reports on research conducted to test the source effects of consumer-generated advertising. Schlinger's Viewer Response Profile (VRP) is used to assess the impact of three source variables: ad creator, ad popularity and motivation for creation of the ad. Findings confirm the importance of popularity ratings on consumer ad evaluation, and also suggest that certain source effects result in consumers being more critical in their evaluation of the ads

  • 9.
    Steyn, Peter
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
    Heerden, Gene van
    Pitt, Leyland
    Boshoff, Christo
    Meet the bloggers: some characteristics of serious bloggers in the Asia-Pacific region and why PR professionals might care about them2008In: Public Relations Quarterly, ISSN 0033-3700, Vol. 52, no 3, p. 39-44Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 10. Vella, Joseph
    et al.
    Heerden, Gene van
    Styvén, Maria Ek
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
    Addiction... or a second chance for a "third place"?2009In: Proceedings: ANZMAC Annual Conference, Australian & New Zealand Marketing Academy , 2009Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Are we living in isolation? Ray Oldenburg postulates that busy schedules impede people from socializing as much as they should; consequently traditional third places have almost disappeared. However there may be a second chance for a new "Third Place". Our aim is to explore two questions conceptually. Has Facebook become the new "Third Place", furthermore is Facebook really a "Third Place"? The theory of the third place is briefly described and this is followed by a description of Facebook. Oldenburg's nine characteristics that qualify a third place are then applied to this social networking site to show that Facebook can possibly be regarded as a third place. Managerial implications and suggestions for future research conclude this paper.

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