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I'm currently working on a research paper that investigates the relationship between revenue generated by people within the same social network. For this, I collaborated with a mobile phone company to sample the social network of a set of customers. I took a random sample of the customer base (about 300 names) and looked at all people called by these customers. I then identified people called by these people and called by these people and so on ... until I sampled a network consisting of roughly 7,000 actors. Hence, essentially what I did is sampling 300 ego-centered networks that, after some iterations, started to partly overlap. In a last step I then analyzed how revenue generated by one customer can be explained by revenue generated by the customers this person is friends with using traditional regression analysis.
After submission of my work to an Academic Journal, I received the reviewer comment that my analysis is too idiosyncratic for the telecommunication industry. Essentially, the reviewer said that only telecom companies have access to actual communication patterns of their customers and, hence, my analysis could not be replicated in any other industry.
I'm rather new to social network analysis, so I'm a bit unsure whether this is true or not. Can anyone think of other industries where a company has, at the same time, information about (a) actual communication patterns of their customers and (b) customer-level revenue to perform a similar analysis as the one I did? Are there any advances in information technology that might make such data available in future? Or is my analysis really specific to one sector only and will remain so in medium-term?
Any comment would be much appreciated!
Thanks very much for your help in advance,
Professor of Marketing
ESCP-EAP European School of Management
79, Avenue de la République | 75011 Paris | France
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