Group Project

This page is for the group project. See Moodle for other assignments.

This page represents the latest information about the group project requirements. If there are differences between this page and the lectures this page takes precedence.

If you need help post a question on the Forum.

Presentation Guidelines
Content Guidelines
Example of Industry Analysis
One Way to Get Started
Wiki Hints

Timing and Deadlines

  • See Moodle


Form a group of five or six students. Do one of the following:

  1. Create a wiki on the impact of the internet on an industry.
  2. Create a wiki describing the business plan for an intenet-related business.

Email the instructor an invitation to join the wiki. Use a wiki tool like or If you use pbwiki make sure you set up an "educational" site so you don't get advertising.

Group members should contribute roughly equally to the wiki. I can track who edits pages to evaluate individual contributions.
Put a link to your wiki next to your name on the Student Pages page.


Each group will give a 20-30 minute presentation to the class. The quality of the presentation will be a factor in the overall grade for the group project. Use Google Docs) to create a presentation. Refer to your wiki where appropriate. It's hard to present from a wiki, because the text is too dense for the audience to process. I usually estimate one to two minutes per slide (shorter for slides with charts or graphics), so 20-30 minutes works out at about 15 to 20 slides.

If you are doing topic 1, the objective is to explain to the class how the internet has affected your industry. See Lecture 9 for an example. A good way to do this is to explain what the industry was like before the internet, and how the internet has changed things.

If you are doing topic 2, the objective is to explain to the class why they should invest in your business.

Some other suggestions:

For topic 1:

  • Start with the overview/big picture view of the industry before talking about individual companies
  • Create a "story" - a coherent narrative of how the internet has affected the industry - so your audience understands your main theme

For either topic,

  • If you use multiple presenters, split the presentation up by section (such as industry size, industry economics) rather than by company
  • Try to anticipate the questions the audience might have in their minds
  • Try to make it interesting
    • The audience should feel they've learned something
    • Consider including a short video or web site demo


The group project grading is designed to reward effort and to penalize "free riders".

Your grade will be a 50:50 combination of the overall quality of the group project and your personal contribution. If you put in an A effort but the group project is a B you’ll get something between A and B. But if you put in a B effort and the group project is an A you’ll get a B. That is, the group can pull your grade down but not up. If you do zero you’ll get zero.

I judge the overall quality of the group project by the group presentation and the final version of the wiki. If the group presentation is well-organized, coherent, complete (addresses the content guidelines) and on-topic, that indicates that the overall quality of the group project is high. Of course, the final version of the wiki should also be well-organized, coherent, complete (addresses the content guidelines) and on-topic.

Your personal contribution will be measured by the number, timing and quality of your wiki edits.That means you should not designate some group member as the "wiki editor" while others do research. Every group member needs to edit the wiki. People who add most of their wiki edits near the deadline will be penalized, as that leaves no time for the other group members and the instructor to modify, correct or integrate those contributions.

Guidelines for Individual Group Project Grade

  • A: more than 100 substantive wiki edits—up-to-date references, quantitative information. Wiki edits spread out over a period long enough to allow fellow group members to add value and to allow instructor to comment and guide content. Contributed new material and ideas, instead of just editing others’ content. Adapted approach based on learning from research. Content refined and evolved as understanding of industry increased. Built on team members’ work.
  • B: more than 50 substantive wiki edits. Contributions spread out over time, balanced between early, middle and late in the process. Helped other team members.
  • C: more than 20 substantive wiki edits. Majority of contributions late in the process. Some assistance to team members.
  • D/F: less than 20 substantive wiki edits. Minor contributions. No significant help to team members. “Coasted” on efforts of others.

I will assess the quality of wiki contributions as follows:

Has the student:

  • Referenced an adequate number (5-10+) of relevant and high quality sources?
    • Not WikiPedia
    • But original sources of data
  • Demonstrated an ability to synthesize data from multiple sources to produce a coherent picture of what's going on in the industry?
  • Demonstrated an ability to work collaboratively with team members by making contributions early enough for others to react to
  • Demonstrated an understanding of the impact of the internet on business revenues and costs in that industry?
  • Shown an ability to analyze the business using techniques from class

Plagiarism - read this!

The principles of academic integrity apply to web sites, wikis and blogs as well as written assignment papers. You must cite all sources, including all words that are not your own. "Cutting and pasting" content without attribution is plagiarism. Make sure you read the course Policies. Ask the instructor if you are not clear. You are responsible for understanding the policies.

Don't cut and paste without using quotes or a quote box!. See Citations for instructions on how to cite sources,


I don't care about the exact format of citations, but there are three things I care about:

  1. Link to the source
  2. Put quotation marks around direct quotes
  3. Don't plagiarize. Copying and pasting content without attribution is plagiarism!

Here are some examples of appropriate citations. Footnotes are not required for a wiki, so long as your links are specific and permanent (I'm not sure how to use footnotes in PBWiki anyway).

Remember the golden rule of citations: provide enough information so that the reader can reproduce your data. Citing is not specific enough. Make sure you link to the page from which you got the information. Try to use a permanent link. Some web pages now include a Permalink to make it easier. It's annoying when clicking on a link returns the message "page not found." If you are linking to a document - such as a pdf file of an Annual Report - provide a link to the file and specify in your text the page of the report from which you got your data e.g. According to the Bank of America 2008 Annual Report, page 24, "During 2008, our active online banking customer base grew to 28.9 million subscribers, an increase of 5.1 million net subscribers from 2007".

Put links to your sources in running text i.e. next to the data you are quoting. You can also use footnotes. When citing web pages in running text, it's always helpful to give the author, source and the date as well as the link so the reader can judge the reliability and currency of the information e.g. As the 4/18/08 version of the class wiki says, "Don't cut and paste without using quotes or a quote box" (Seabrook, 2008). You can put the full reference in a list of references (see References below), but it's not necessary to do this on a wiki so long as the link is specific and permanent.

For longer quotes you should use a text box:

As the instructor says in the class wiki (Seabrook 2008)

The principles of academic integrity apply to web sites, wikis and blogs as well as written assignment papers. You must cite all sources, including all words that are not your own. "Cutting and pasting" content without attribution is plagiarism. Make sure you read the course policies. Ask the instructor if you are not clear. You are responsible for understanding the policies. Don't cut and paste without using quotes or a quote box!

Here's a link to a book called Online! (Harnack and Kleppinger, 2003) that explains how to cite online sources. It's important to spell out the web page address for a printed document, but not for a wiki. A link alone is useless in print. Because web sites (unlike books or published journals) change all the time, you should include the date the page was last modified so it can be found in an archive. Include the date you accessed the site in case the site publication date is not available.


Content Guidelines

The group project asks you to analyze the impact of the internet on an industry. Explain what the industry was like before the internet (say in the mid-1990s) and how the internet has changed the industry.

This is a business class, so your wiki content should be business related. For example, if your topic is movies don't provide links to your favorite directors. Discuss the impact the internet has had on revenue, cost, profitability, competition and the economics of the industry. Think $$$! You need quantitative data (numbers).

  • Size of the industry
    • Revenues and profits
    • Trends – growing? Contracting?
  • Structure of the industry
    • Who are the players?
      • Provide links to companies or site participating in this industry
      • Are there a few big companies or many small ones?
      • What do they do?
    • Who competes with whom?
    • Determinants of industry structure – what determines the amount of competition?
    • How has the industry structure changed since the introduction of the internet?
  • Economics of industry participants
    • Who is making the money (profitability)? How much?
    • Costs and cost “drivers” – what determines costs?
    • Revenue and revenue “drivers” – what affects revenue?
    • Impact of the internet – how does it affect cost and revenue? How has it affected the profitability of companies in the industry?
  • Business models
    • Who buys the product and why? How do the businesses make money?
    • Impact of the internet on business models
      • What were the business models before the internet?
      • How has the internet affected old business models? Created new ones?
    • Examples of companies with different business models
  • Competitive strategy - how do these companies plan to beat their competition?
    • How has the internet affected competition in the industry?
  • What marketing strategies do they use?
    • 4 Ps
    • Why do people buy from them?
      • What value do customers get out of the product?
      • Why do customers buy from this company rather than competitors?
    • Who buys the product? (target market)
    • What approaches to pricing do they use?
    • How does the company promote the product? (TV, viral marketing, …)
    • How does it distribute the product?
  • The impact of the internet on this industry
    • What did this industry look like before the internet?
      • Major companies
      • Value proposition to customers
    • How has the internet affected the evolution of this industry?
    • What’s happening now? To existing companies? To new companies?
    • What emerging new ways are there to use the internet in this industry?
    • Who will be the winners and losers?

Example and Hints

Here an example of an analysis of how the internet affects an industry: the newspaper industry.


Here are some hints based on common errors I've seen.

  • Don't confuse an industry with a company. The size of the industry is the sum of the revenues of all the companies in it.
  • Start research on financial data early. That way you can catch mistakes.
  • Make sure you get the units right with financial data.

Getting Started

I suggest you create pages or headings for each section and write down what you know already. You probably know some of the companies in the industry and the products they produce. You have some idea of how they make money and how new products have exploited the internet. If you put this down you give other team members something to react to and you start to identify gaps in your understanding that should direct your research.

Possible topics for class projects Spring 2009 - your ideas welcome!

You need to find a topic on which there's something to say. Pick an industry where the internet has had a significant impact, or an internet topic.

  • The internet and the television industry
  • Apparel retailing online - Group 3
  • Social networking - making money from it - Group 6
  • Online education
  • Movie rentals/downloads and the internet - Group 4
  • Outsourcing and the internet
  • Create an internet business plan
  • Cloud computing
  • The internet and the real estate industry
  • Making money from Second Life and Virtual Worlds
  • Internet banking - Group 2
  • Internet gaming (gambling) - Group 1
  • Music industry (different perspective to that covered in class) - Group 5
  • your ideas welcome! - but ask the instructor first

2008 Topics FYI Only - 2009 Students should NOT choose one of these unless it's listed on the 2009 list above

Wiki Hints

Get Organized

Your home page should be an executive summary with links to the detailed content. You should have one page per bullet point of the content guidelines. You will probably need more detailed pages too. For example, your main page on marketing strategy may link to individual pages about the marketing strategies of individual companies. It is better to have many easy-to-follow short pages rather than few very long and complex pages.

Let your Wiki evolve over time

Don't try to build the perfect wiki on the first day. The beauty of wikis is that they're easy to change. Use the wiki as a working space. Just put your ideas down and save them frequently. Your group members can then see and edit what you've done.

Don't be too timid! Add pages, move content around, add links - you can always change it later.


Business research needs up to date data. That doesn't come from academic literature. Newspapers, industry associations, company reports, investor research, market research organizations, business magazines and blogs will all be useful in giving you current information and leading you to original sources. There are many blogs focused on individual industries like gaming or television. These often provide up-to-date news and links to other sources.

You can find many sources with a library database search. Look in the Business/Economics section.

Be careful to check the dates of your sources. An online article published in 2000 will usually be way out of date, given the speed at which the internet business world changes.

  • Web site statistics: Nielsen NetRatings, ComScore
    • These are businesses that sell their research
    • But you can often get excerpts for free from industry organizations or news reports
  • Business news
    • New York Times
      • Try typing your topic into the search box on the NYT home page e.g "online gaming" or "movie industry". You'll see a lot of relevant articles which will lead you to original sources.
    • Wall Street Journal
      • Subscription required
      • May be available through the library
    • The Economist
    • Business Week
      • Try a site search e.g. "online gaming"
    • Smart Money
    • and many more
  • Industry associations - Google your topic and "industry association" to find them e.g.
  • Annual Reports - Publicly traded companies provide annual and quarterly reports with detailed financial and market information to their investors e.g.
  • Stock research sites: first find a public company in your industry (e.g. if you are doing the voip industry just Google "voip publicly traded"), then just type in the stock symbol to see stock price info and related news:
  • Company web sites
  • Industry conferences e.g.
  • Search engines work best if you use the right search terms
    • Searching for "internet travel" is less effective than searching for "internet travel industry"
    • Put specific terms in quotes in the search box e.g. ""travel industry"" instead of "travel industry"

Group Project Homework for Hybrid Class

Week 1

Complete the following research and enter the results and links on your group wiki:

  • Identify companies involved in the business
    • Three companies per person
  • Link to sources of financial information
    • Two sources per person
  • Link to news articles or web sites about the industry
    • Three articles per person
    • Provide a brief summary of each article (one or two sentences)
  • Each group member: enter your name on the Student Pages page of the class wiki and provide a link to your group wiki
    • To do this, you will need to join the class wiki by accepting the invitation I emailed you after you completed the course survey

Week 2

Complete the following research and enter the results and links on your group wiki:

  • What is the industry size?
    • Each person should get an estimate of the total industry size (with a link to the source).
    • Note that this will force you to define your industry.
  • How do companies compete in this industry?
    • Two examples per person of how they compete (beat their competition) and their competitive strategy with links to sources
  • What are the marketing strategies of companies in this industry?
    • Two companies per person with an explanation of the "4Ps" and links to sources

Week 3

From now on you should work collaboratively on this project. Decide between you who will do what by when.

  • Look at the group project content guidelines. Create a page in your wiki for each topic. Make your wiki home page an Executive Summary page.
  • Then do the following research and analysis and put the results on the appropriate pages on the wiki
    • How did the introduction of the internet change this industry?
    • Do a Five Forces analysis on this industry. How profitable do you think it is? How does your assessment agree or disagree with data on profits you have found?
    • What are the business models of the companies you are looking at?

Weeks 4 and 5

By now you should have some information on almost all the elements of the group project content guidelines. You now need to dig deeper to build a comprehensive picture of how the internet has affected your industry. Please do the following:

  • Continue to research your industry until you can answer the questions in the group project content guidelines. Look for quantitative data too. If you are having difficulty, ask a librarian for help, or ask the instructor. I will put questions and comments on your group wikis over the next week or ten days. Try to address those questions by the due date of this assignment.
  • Have one group member create a Google Docs draft presentation and populate it with the information you have so far. Share the document with the instructor and your other group members.
  • Your content needs to be 80 to 90% complete by the due date of this assignment.
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