Document Type

Closed Project

Publication Date

Winter 2011


Antonie Jetter

Course Title

Front End Management for New Product Development

Course Number

ETM 543


Since its inception in 1995, the practice of Netnography has undergone notable shifts from its most fundamental premises and assumptions to its procedures and applications. Through a study and evaluation of a timeline of relevant literature, this paper explores the elements that have evolved since 1995, what has caused such shifts to take place, and what the future of Netnography may look like and its implications for the product development process as a Fuzzy Front End tool. The analysis revealed that Netnography is effectively applied during Phases 1 and 2 of the Fuzzy Front End. Although Netnography may prove valuable in the opportunity identification phase, particularly given the relative ease with which it can be used to identify lead users, it is not a sufficient tool to replace conventional FFE tools. Its evolution is found to be directly related to the respective evolution of computer-mediated communications and the online infrastructure. Since 1995, Netnography has expanded to include more automated and passive applications and will continue to evolve as a tool as long as the online consumer environment and respective behaviors continue to change.


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