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Accounting for Gifts: How Consumers Understand Free on the Internet

Pemberton, Jennifer; Georgieva, Marina and Rudin, Lina (2010)
Department of Business Administration
Abstract
Purpose: To investigate how consumers understand free services on the Internet. Theories: The research is primarily based upon theories of gift giving. Methodology and analysis: The Internet is not a tangible marketplace and in order to understand the value of the free services online, we used consumers' behavioral accounts to explain how they perceive the free services that are common online. Primarily qualitative data was collected through seven unstructured interviews and an online survey. Our analysis of the data collected through these two methods is based on the interpretation and understanding of the “free” phenomenon that arrives through examining its meaning to the participants. Conclusions: It is difficult for consumers to... (More)
Purpose: To investigate how consumers understand free services on the Internet. Theories: The research is primarily based upon theories of gift giving. Methodology and analysis: The Internet is not a tangible marketplace and in order to understand the value of the free services online, we used consumers' behavioral accounts to explain how they perceive the free services that are common online. Primarily qualitative data was collected through seven unstructured interviews and an online survey. Our analysis of the data collected through these two methods is based on the interpretation and understanding of the “free” phenomenon that arrives through examining its meaning to the participants. Conclusions: It is difficult for consumers to understand the value of Internet even though it has become such an important resource in their everyday life, however they do not perceive it as a gift, because they are aware that there is an exchange taking place. The ancient practice of gift giving does still live on in our society although the forms of reciprocity are changing. The obligation to repay can be seen in a new way among the consumers. Consumers do not pay directly for the exact value of the service but they do justify their use of free Internet service by giving in return their personal information to advertisers or creating content for other users. (Less)
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author
Pemberton, Jennifer; Georgieva, Marina and Rudin, Lina
supervisor
organization
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Internet, free, gift economy, service marketing, consumer culture, Management of enterprises, Företagsledning, management
language
Swedish
id
2168056
date added to LUP
2010-06-01 00:00:00
date last changed
2012-04-02 18:29:24
@misc{2168056,
  abstract     = {Purpose: To investigate how consumers understand free services on the Internet. Theories: The research is primarily based upon theories of gift giving. Methodology and analysis: The Internet is not a tangible marketplace and in order to understand the value of the free services online, we used consumers' behavioral accounts to explain how they perceive the free services that are common online. Primarily qualitative data was collected through seven unstructured interviews and an online survey. Our analysis of the data collected through these two methods is based on the interpretation and understanding of the “free” phenomenon that arrives through examining its meaning to the participants. Conclusions: It is difficult for consumers to understand the value of Internet even though it has become such an important resource in their everyday life, however they do not perceive it as a gift, because they are aware that there is an exchange taking place. The ancient practice of gift giving does still live on in our society although the forms of reciprocity are changing. The obligation to repay can be seen in a new way among the consumers. Consumers do not pay directly for the exact value of the service but they do justify their use of free Internet service by giving in return their personal information to advertisers or creating content for other users.},
  author       = {Pemberton, Jennifer and Georgieva, Marina and Rudin, Lina},
  keyword      = {Internet,free,gift economy,service marketing,consumer culture,Management of enterprises,Företagsledning, management},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Accounting for Gifts: How Consumers Understand Free on the Internet},
  year         = {2010},
}