• pre-publication peer review (FINAL ROUND)
    Decision Letter
    2021/07/08

    08-Jul-2021

    Dear Jung, Bohee; 김, 한구; Lee, Seung Hwan

    It is a pleasure to accept your manuscript OIR-02-2020-0036.R1, entitled "The Impact of Belongingness and Graphic based Emoticon Usage Motives on Emoticon Purchase Intentions for MIM: An Analysis of Korean KakaoTalk Users" in its current form for publication in Online Information Review. Please note, no further changes can be made to your manuscript.

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    Decision letter by
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    Reviewer report
    2021/07/03

    Thanks for the extra efforts to improve this paper. Hope this paper expands the stream of emoticon research in both MIS as well as Communication studies fields.

    Reviewed by
    Cite this review
    Author Response
    2021/05/21

    OVERVIEW OF REVISIONS

    We wish to thank each of you for carefully reading our previous submission and for making thoughtful and important comments that have greatly aided our efforts to improve the paper. We have closely followed the suggestions provided by the review team and hope you find the revised manuscript acceptable.
    Before proceeding to a point-by-point response to each issue raised by the review team, we would like to outline the most substantive improvements we have made to the manuscript, which are in accordance with the suggestions made by the review team:

    We substantially revised the structure and presentation of our manuscript to emphasize the contributions and originality of our research.
    - Overall, we have extensively revised our introduction, analysis, and discussions in order to highlight our research contributions regarding user’s graphic based emoticon usage motivations and purchase intentions.
    - We included more recent and relevant literatures to compare and clarify our contribution to the existing literatures (e.g., Lee and Lin, 2020; Pohl, Domin, and Rohs 2017; Ge and Gretzel, 2018; Klein, 2019)
    - With additional (post hoc) analysis, we were able to show how a user’s achieved belongingness affected emoticon purchase intentions, when serial mediation of perceived enjoyment by others and social norms exists.
    - To clarify our contribution, we revised the overall structure and the terminologies.

    Our contributions can be summarized as below:
    - We extend our research beyond the conventional text based emoticons to a more commercially expandable, graphic based emoticons which has created a business ecosystem on its own.
    - Examine the role of ‘perceived enjoyment of usage by others’ as an emoticon usage motive which have not been extensively studied in previous SNS related research (including MIM, emoticon research)
    - Study how different levels of individual’s overall achieved belongingness can influence SNS usage motivation, where past research mostly have focused on belongingness to SNS or belongingness via SNS activities.

    To clarify our main contributions, these are specific changes we made to the manuscript:
    1) Emphasis on graphic based emoticon usage (versus text based emoticons)
    - Replaced the term ‘emoticons’ to ‘graphic based emoticons’ to clearly define our research objective.
    - Suggest detailed statistics related to industrial growth of graphic based emoticon services in MIM platforms, including consumers’ graphic based emoticons usage and business applications of graphic based emoticons in KakaoTalk.
    - Cited research suggesting the need to study attitudes and usage of graphic based emoticons instead of text based emoticons (e.g., Pohl, Domin, and Rohs 2017; Lee and Lin, 2020) and emphasizing the commercial importance of graphic based emoticons (e.g., Ge and Gretzel, 2018).

    2) The role of ‘perceived enjoyment of usage by others’ as an emoticon usage motive
    - Cited several research suggesting the possible importance of perceived enjoyment of usage by others in graphic based emoticon purchase (e.g., Lee and Lin, 2020; Wang and Griskevicius, 2014; Griskevicius et al., 2007; Sundie et al., 2011).
    - While initial findings suggested that direct relationship between perceived enjoyment by others and emoticon purchase intentions was not statistically significant, we conducted post hoc analysis to further explore the role of perceived enjoyment by others. We find that perceived enjoyment by others associated with social norms mediate the impact of achieved belongingness on emoticon purchase intentions.

    3) Individual’s overall achieved belongingness can influence SNS usage motivation
    - Past research mostly focused on belongingness to SNS itself.
    - Provided additional managerial implications regarding user’s belongingness characteristics, including consumer segmentation criteria to maximize emoticon usage and sales.

    Below are our responses to your specific comments.

    Originality: Does the paper make a significant theoretical, empirical and/or methodological contribution to an area of importance, within the scope of the journal?: This research tries to contribute to the literature by adopting the concept of belongingness in the MIM context, which is a novel approach to research "emoticons". Also, this research tries to shed light on the factor of "perceived enjoyment of others" as well, but seemingly the effort was not that meaningful as the related hypothesis was helplessly rejected.

    Thank you very much for this suggestion. Following your comment, we have tried to revise our manuscript so that we can more clearly show our research contribution and originality. Several research have argued that graphic based emoticons should be studied separately from text based emoticons (Gao et al., 2017; Pavalanathan and Eisenstein, 2016; Lee and Lin, 2020). We clarify that our research focus is on graphic based emoticons which is a big part of ongoing MIM business (Gao et al., 2017).
    (see pages 7 )

    Also, we thought that the hypothesis regarding “perceived enjoyment of others” was crucial and meaningful, thus, we conducted additional analysis to explore this importance of concept. What we found was that despite the insignificant direct effect of “perceived enjoyment of others” on “emoticon purchase intentions”, “user’s perceived belongingness (acceptance and rejection)” influenced “emoticon purchase intentions” through a serial mediation of “perceived enjoyment of others” and “social norms”.
    (see pages 18 )


    Despite initial findings suggesting that direct relationship between perceived enjoyment by others and emoticon purchase intentions is not statistically significant, because hypotheses H1c, H2c, H7, and H8 were supported, we conducted post hoc analysis to further explore the role of perceived enjoyment by others. In other words, we examined if acceptance/inclusion and rejection/exclusion impact emoticon purchase intention through serial mediation of perceived enjoyment by others and social norms. Since AMOS 21 cannot test serial mediation directly, we utilized the phantom model technique (Macho and Ledermann, 2011) together with 5000 bootstrapping samples (Preacher and Hayes, 2008) to verify specific indirect effects and their significance levels. The results are summarized in Table 5.
    The extended analysis show that acceptance/inclusion does influence emoticon purchase intentions through perceived enjoyment by others and social norms (unstandardized coefficient = 0.104, SE = 0.051, p < 0.01). Likewise, rejection/exclusion show a similar indirect serial mediated effect on emoticon purchase intentions (unstandardized coefficient = 0.085, SE = 0.038, p < 0.01). These results indicate that perceived enjoyment by others associated with social norms mediate the impact of achieved belongingness on emoticon purchase intentions.

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored? Is the literature review up-to-date? Has relevant material published in Online Information Review been cited?: 1. Please cite most recent source for your study. We are now living in 2020. Below are too outdated I must say.

    As suggested, we were able to find more current research from Online Information Review (Apuke and Omar, 2021; Lee and Lin, 2020) and more research from other journals. These are some examples:
    Ge, J. and Gretzel, U. (2018) “Emoji Rhetoric: A Social Media Influencer Perspective,” Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 34 No. 15-16, pp. 272-1295; Pavalanathan, U. and Eisenstein, J. (2016), “More emojis, less:) The competition for paralinguistic function in microblog writing”, First Monday, Vol. 21 No 7-11, pp. 1-48.; Nguyen MH, Gruber J, Fuchs J, Marler W, Hunsaker A, Hargittai E. (2020), “Changes in Digital Communication During the COVID-19 Global Pandemic: Implications for Digital Inequality and Future Research”, Social Media + Society; Pohl, H., Domin, C. and Rohs, M. (2017), “Beyond just Text: Semantic Emoji Similarity Modeling to Support Expressive Communication,” ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 1-42. ; Wijeratne, S., Balasuriya, L., Sheth, A. and Doran, D. (2017), “Emojinet: An Open Service and Api for Emoji Sense Discovery,” In Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 437-446.
    Thank you for your advice.

    1. Do you really have to cite "Derks et al." twice to support your statement? Same researchers and almost same periods - Do you really have to cite them together? How about citing only the recent one and searching for another research to back up your statement?

    We have revised the possible duplication of citations from similar research and have added other relevant literatures to advocate our statements. (Lee and Lin, 2020; Pohl, Domin, and Rohs 2017)
    (see pages 2)

    1. Please explain more about the importance of studying MIM. Why important? Please show more values of citing those two studies.

    Thank you for comment. We have added specific MIM related market reports (Choi, 2021; Kakao 2020; Wijeratne, Balasuriya, Sheth, and Doran, 2017) and studies showing the importance to research graphic based emoticon usage (Jung and Kim, 2016; Lee and Lin, 2020).
    (see pages 2, 3)

    1. Please cite a few regarding below "previous studies".

    Thank you for pointing this out. We have added the specific studies from Hsieh and Tseng (2016), Huang et al. (2008), Kim et al. (2004), and Zhou and Liu (2010).
    (see pages 3)

    1. Too old studies. Please update more with recent studies.

    We agree with your comment and have revised to cite more up-to-date studies as mentioned.
    (see pages 2)

    1. Please cite 2-3 relevant papers published in Online Information Review.

    As mentioned previously, we added studies by Apuke and Omar (2021) and Lee and Lin (2020) from the Online Information Review. Thank you for your suggestion.
    (see pages 6)

    7.Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts or other ideas? Has the research on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate and fully explained? Have issues of research ethics been adequately identified and addressed?: 1. Social norms (SN) factor only contains two measurement items. Minimum two items are okay, but still wondering why you have not measured the factor safely with at least three measurement items to secure validity and reliability.

    We agree that to secure validity and reliability, it would have been safer to measure each factor with a minimum of three items. However, one of the authors have conducted a research on social norms in MIM context in the past and have found that one of the measurement item of social norms to significantly decrease the reliability to the model, thus, in this research have measured the social norms with only two measurement items. Thank you for your comment.

    1. Please clearly cite "past relevant studies" for Perceived enjoyment for emoticon usage for others factor in 4.2 Measures.

    Thank you for pointing this out. We have included the mention of studies by Zhou et al. (2010) on perceived enjoyment in SNS usage and Klein (2019) on predictions of others’ emotions to elaborate on the measurement of perceived enjoyment for others.
    (see pages 8, 15)

    1. Please provide a clear Hypotheses and results (Figure 2) picture. The current version is too blurred and unorganized.

    Thank you for your suggestion. We have clarified and reorganized the figure to increase visibility.

    1. Please explain why the following hypotheses were not supported. However, H2a, perceived rejection/exclusion impacting perceived usefulness of emoticon usage, and H3a, perceived acceptance/inclusion influencing social norms, were not statistically significant. Please explain the rejected hypotheses in regards to the dependent variable, i.e., Purchase intention. Below current version statement does not explain fully regarding purchase intention. And the logic is overall incomplete. People do use emoticons between strangers as a mean to warm up the relationship.

    As suggested, we first deleted some unclear explanations on emoticon usage among close network. We then revised and supplemented some possible explanations on the hypotheses that were not supported in our discussions. Also, we included an extended analysis of serial mediations to better understand our results.
    (see pages 21)


    However, H2a, perceived rejection/exclusion impacting perceived usefulness of emoticon usage, and H3a, perceived acceptance/inclusion influencing social norms, were not statistically significant. These mixed findings on the relationship between achieved belongingness, perceived usefulness of emoticon usage, and social norms demonstrate the potential importance of accommodating individual’s sense of belongingness characteristics with emoticon usage motivations when analyzing purchase intentions. Ha et al. (2007) found non-significant effect of perceived usefulness on usage behavior and Huang et al. (2008) showed relatively larger influence of perceived enjoyment compared to perceived usefulness on emoticon usage. Based on our findings, we suggest that a possible explanation on the varied effects of perceived usefulness may be from failing to accommodate individual characteristics, including achieved belongingness.

    Findings indicate that perceived enjoyment by others positively influences social norms and, social norms have a positive impact on graphic based emoticon purchase intentions, supporting H7 and H8. However, perceived enjoyment of graphic emoticon usage, but not perceived usefulness nor enjoyment of others, influence purchase intentions, which supports H5, but not H4 nor H6. One possible cause for the insignificant effect of perceived usefulness on purchase intentions could be that most usage of emoticons are among close friends and family. Generally, users are comfortable with informal communications between close friends where there are only little chance of misunderstanding non-verbal communications due to their strong relationship ties. Accordingly, in KakaoTalk's graphic based emoticon usage context, perceived usefulness which is related to communication efficiency and effectiveness may not be an important variable, thus showing no statistically significant relationship in our research. With post hoc analysis on examining why perceived enjoyment by others was not directly associated with emoticon purchase intentions, we found that social norms played a mediating role. Namely, sense of belongingness (acceptance/inclusion and rejection/exclusion) affects emoticon purchase intentions indirectly through serial mediation of perceived enjoyment by others and social norms. This extended result demonstrates that perceived enjoyment by others can also meaningfully influence emoticon purchase behavior.

    1. Please explain why "emoticon services" are "a major business model". Here, does a business model stand for a structure that generates more revenue? If so, then are there any source data that prove high revenue generated by emoticon services? Do you think that Korean users are actively buying paid emoticons to generate high revenue? Do firms pay a lot for MIM to launch their emoticon items?

    We have addressed your comment in the Introduction section more carefully. We provided several sources describing the emergence and importance of ‘emoticon services.

    1. Please provide backup source for below statement. If the actual number of sales volume is insignificant, then it would be not that important to emphasize that the fee-based emotion sales "have increased". In other words, the fee-based emotion sales volume should be proven as a "meaningful" number so that it can add value to this research.
    2. Do you really think that "feebased emoticons" are KakaoTalk's major revenue stream? To "boost" revenue from emoticons, does KakaoTalk try to offer more of them? Have you reviewed the most recent Investor Relations (IR) presentation slides of KakaoTalk which shows the revenue portions by business? There should be "significantly meaningful" source for you to discuss "feebased emoticons" for KakaoTalk. Without it, there is no point for us to focus on your research.

    For comments 12 & 14, we believe that our specific comments on research contribution revisions at the beginning of the response letter would provide sufficient information. We have extensively revised our Introduction to reflect concerns regarding the importance of fee based emoticons.

    1. Please elaborate more on the importance of below practical implication stated in the introduction section. What is the point of mentioning "effective customer segmentation in the market"?
    2. Regarding the first implication - Sorry. But I think currently there are tons of "aesthetic emoticon designs that can generate positive emotions" in KakaoTalk. Thus, this simple implication can hardly be a new suggestion for practitioners.
      First, users should be entertained to increase emoticon purchases revenue. Our findings revealed that perceived usefulness or enjoyment by others did not influence emoticon purchase intentions; that is, emoticon purchase does not depend on practical or social reasons, but on personal preferences and enjoyment. Thus, firms should invest in creating aesthetic emoticon designs that can generate positive emotions, thereby increasing individual's perceived enjoyment.

    Thank you for your advice. We have deleted our previous implication of aesthetic emoticon designs and provided a new managerial insight regarding a user’s achieved belongingness. We find that segmenting user based on their perceived belongingness and providing appropriate promotions to segmented groups can be important. By analyzing words/phrases used in the messenger, users can be segmented into high/low perceived belongingness group versus moderate belongingness group, then focus fee-based graphic emoticon promotions to these high perceived belongingness user group.
    (see pages 22)


    Managerial implications of our research are as follows. First, MIM service firms can execute promotions based on user’s belongingness characteristics. According to our findings, with the increase of user’s perceived acceptance/inclusion or rejection/exclusion, user’s perceived enjoyment and perceived enjoyment for others also increased, eventually leading to more positive emoticon purchase intentions. Thus, a firm can segment users by their perceived belongingness after analyzing words or phrases used in the messenger, and efficiently focus its sales effort of fee-based emoticons to the high belongingness perception group.

    1. Sorry. KakaoTalk already provides the kind of emoticons. No new suggestion again.
      For instance, college students would prefer colorful emoticons representing struggles at universities, whereas company employees in their 30s would prefer simply designed emoticons representing difficulties in their workplace.

    We have revised the managerial implications and added a new insight to managers based on our findings from the extended analysis. We suggested recommending emoticons pertinent to their reference group’s emoticon usage tendencies.
    (see pages 22)


    Second, we find that not only does social norms directly influence emoticon purchase intentions, but it also serially mediates the impact of perceived belongingness on emoticon purchase intentions in company with perceived enjoyment for others. Hence, informing users of their reference group's emoticon usage tendencies or promoting graphic emoticons that fit group characteristics and preferences can increase emoticon sales. In summary, social norms is also an important factor, along with perceived enjoyment and perceived enjoyment for others, in fee-based emoticon purchases; therefore, firms should develop hedonic and entertaining emoticons that are preferred by target user's social group.. In addition, findings suggest that individual differences in perceived belongingness can lead to distinct emoticon usage motives. Indicating that firms should segment customers based on psychographic characteristics in order to maximize emoticon usage and sales.

    1. Meanwhile et al. (1992) described the sense of belongingness as

    We apologize for the omission. We have included the authors Hagerty, Lynch-Sauer, Patusky, Bouwseman, and Collier (1992).
    (see pages 4)

    1. What is "Big Five"?

    We have included elaboration on the Big Five personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion, and neuroticism). Thank you for your comment.
    (see pages 4)

    1. Why are there brackets for "overall"? With/out those brackets make different meanings?

    We initially have included the “overall” with brackets to differentiate it with the belongingness to specific service or entity. However, with the revision, we have excluded the brackets to avoid misrepresentation and confusion.

    1. We are now living in the year of 2020 and everything is mobile. Do you think it is appropriate to simply say 'the number of mobile service users is growing'? In this year of 2020?

    We agree that the initial statement can misrepresent current events. The statement has been revised to represent the developments and innovations of mobile services.
    (see pages 2, 3)

    1. Please check for grammar and typos from the beginning to the end.

    We have utilized a professional English editing service for this revised manuscript.

    1. Please place hypotheses along with each arrow in the Research model (Figure)

    The figure has been revised accordingly.
    (see pages 19)



    1. Please list references in an alphabetical order.

    We have checked the reference list for errors, including alphabetical order.



    Cite this author response
  • pre-publication peer review (ROUND 1)
    Decision Letter
    2021/02/02

    &PHPSESSID02-Feb-2021;

    Dear Prof. Kim,

    Manuscript ID OIR-02-2020-0036 entitled "The Impact of User's Achieved Belongingness and Emoticon Usage Motives on Emoticon Purchase Intentions for Mobile Instant Messenger: An Analysis of Korean KakaoTalk Users" which you submitted to Online Information Review has been reviewed. The comments of the reviewer(s) are included at the bottom of this letter.

    The reviewers have recommended that you make major revisions to your manuscript prior to it being considered for publication.

    Please read their suggestions and if you choose to prepare a revised manuscript ensure that any changes that you make to your manuscript are highlighted, as well as described in your response to reviewers.

    Please also ensure that in doing so your paper does not exceed the maximum word length of 10000 words and that it meets all the requirements of the author guidelines at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/products/journals/author_guidelines.htm?id=oir=ubl727mru90lg3hc8sa5p5qrt2."

    To revise your manuscript log into https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/oir and enter your Author Centre, where you will find your manuscript title listed under "Manuscripts with Decisions". Under "Actions" click on "Create a Revision". Your manuscript number has been appended to denote a revision.

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    Reviewer(s)' Comments to Author:
    Reviewer: 1

    Recommendation: Major Revision

    Comments:
    Major revision is required - please work on "Intention to purchase emoticon" first to make your research meaningful. Thank you.

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper make a significant theoretical, empirical and/or methodological contribution to an area of importance, within the scope of the journal?: This research tries to contribute to the literature by adopting the concept of belongingness in the MIM context, which is a novel approach to research "emoticons". Also, this research tries to shed light on the factor of "perceived enjoyment of others" as well, but seemingly the effort was not that meaningful as the related hypothesis was helplessly rejected.

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored? Is the literature review up-to-date? Has relevant material published in Online Information Review been cited?: 1. Please cite most recent source for your study. We are now living in 2020. Below are too outdated I must say.

    [ Introduction - #2 paragraph ]

    Wiseapp. (2018), “App Usage rankings”, available at: https://www.wiseapp.co.kr/ (accessed 27 June 2018)

    Kakao. (2017), “2017 Kakao Audit Report” available at: https://www.kakaocorp.com

    1. Do you really have to cite "Derks et al." twice to support your statement? Same researchers and almost same periods - Do you really have to cite them together? How about citing only the recent one and searching for another research to backup your statement?

    [ Introduction - #2 paragraph ]

    The interesting aspect of MIM is that apart from text-based communications, graphic emoticons are frequently used, which operates similar to non-verbal cue in offline face-to-face communications, further representing user's emotions or attitudes (Derks et al., 2007; Derks et al., 2008)

    [ Theoretical background - #1 paragraph of 2.2 Motives for emoticon usage ]

    However, according to recent studies, emoticons can help CMC overcome these limitations that eventually led to CMC proliferation (Derks et al., 2007; Derks et al., 2008).

    1. Please explain more about the importance of studying MIM. Why important? Please show more values of citing those two studies.

    [ Introduction - #3 paragraph ]

    The importance of studying MIM and its related services is prominent (Jung and Kim, 2016; Vazquez et al., 2017)

    1. Please cite a few regarding below "previous studies".

    [ Introduction - #5 paragraph ]

    On the basis of previous studies on emoticons and motivations for technology-based services and SNS

    1. Too old studies. Please update more with recent studies.

    [ Theoretical background - #2 paragraph of 2.1 Achieved belongingness ]

    Several studies have implemented an individual's motivation for belongingness as an explanatory variable. Most of these studies consider the relationship between belongingness and subjective well-being. For instance, Anant (1966) suggested belongingness as a mediating variable for understanding psychological health from a human relationship perspective. Meanwhile, Baumeister and Tice (1990) stated that social exclusion is generally the source of anxiety. Furthermore, the deprivation of belongingness is known to trigger depression or suicidal tendencies (Durkheim, 1963).

    1. Please cite 2-3 relevant papers published in Online Information Review.

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts or other ideas? Has the research on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate and fully explained? Have issues of research ethics been adequately identified and addressed?: 1. Social norms (SN) factor only contains two measurement items. Minimum two items are okay, but still wondering why you have not measured the factor safely with at least three measurement items to secure validity and reliability.

    1. Please clearly cite "past relevant studies" for Perceived enjoyment for emoticon usage for others factor in 4.2 Measures.

    Results: For empirical papers - are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately?: Please provide a clear Hypotheses and results (Figure 2) picture. The current version is too blurred and unorganized.

    Discussion/Argument: Is the relation between any empirical findings and previous work discussed? Does the paper present a robust and coherent argument? To what extent does the paper engage critically with the literature and findings? Are theoretical concepts articulated well and used appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?: 1. Please explain why the following hypotheses were not supported.

    However, H2a, perceived rejection/exclusion impacting perceived usefulness of emoticon usage, and H3a, perceived acceptance/inclusion influencing social norms, were not statistically significant.

    1. Please explain the rejected hypotheses in regards to the dependent variable, i.e., Purchase intention. Below current version statement does not explain fully regarding purchase intention. And the logic is overall incomplete. People do use emoticons between strangers as a mean to warm up the relationship.

    However, perceived enjoyment of emoticon usage, but not perceived usefulness or enjoyment of others, influenced purchase intentions, which supports H5, but not H4 and H6. This result may be due to emoticons being mostly adopted among close friends inside a relatively closed MIM. Generally, users are comfortable communicating with close friends, and there is only little chance of misunderstanding non-verbal communications because of their strong relationship ties. Accordingly, in KakaoTalk's emoticon usage context, perceived usefulness related to communication efficiency or effectiveness may not be an important variable, thus showing no statistically significant relationship in our research. Likewise, the desirability of emoticon by a close friend can be relatively ignored compared with the message sender's own preference, since neglecting the other person's preference does not critically injure the communication for this informal relationship and can even be an opportunity to represent one's individuality.

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?: 1. Please explain why "emoticon services" are "a major business model". Here, does a business model stand for a structure that generates more revenue? If so, then are there any source data that prove high revenue generated by emoticon services? Do you think that Korean users are actively buying paid emoticons to generate high revenue? Do firms pay a lot for MIM to launch their emoticon items?

    [ Introduction - #3 paragraph ]

    We expect that there will be a high demand for practical and theoretical research on emoticon services, which is a major business model for MIM services.

    1. Please provide backup source for below statement. If the actual number of sales volume is insignificant, then it would be not that important to emphasize that the fee-based emotion sales "have increased". In other words, the fee-based emotion sales volume should be proven as a "meaningful" number so that it can add value to this research.

    [ Introduction - #3 paragraph ]

    < Although fee-based emoticon sales have increased in MIM services >

    1. Please elaborate more on the importance of below practical implication stated in the introduction section. What is the point of mentioning "effective customer segmentation in the market"?

    [ Introduction - #4 paragraph ]

    Moreover, this study potentially provides steps for effective customer segmentation in the market.

    1. Do you really think that "fee-based emoticons" are KakaoTalk's major revenue stream? To "boost" revenue from emoticons, does KakaoTalk try to offer more of them? Have you reviewed the most recent Investor Relations (IR) presentation slides of KakaoTalk which shows the revenue portions by business? There should be "significantly meaningful" source for you to discuss "fee-based emoticons" for KakaoTalk. Without it, there is no point for us to focus on your research.

    Currently, KakaoTalk is offering fee-based emoticon purchases, while supplying a few free emoticons, to boost their revenue stream. In our research, we try to explore the factors influencing user's emoticon purchase intentions, which can form the foundations of marketing strategies in these businesses.

    1. Regarding the first implication - Sorry. But I think currently there are tons of "aesthetic emoticon designs that can generate positive emotions" in KakaoTalk. Thus, this simple implication can hardly be a new suggestion for practitioners.

    First, users should be entertained to increase emoticon purchases revenue. Our findings revealed that perceived usefulness or enjoyment by others did not influence emoticon purchase intentions; that is, emoticon purchase does not depend on practical or social reasons, but on personal preferences and enjoyment. Thus, firms should invest in creating aesthetic emoticon designs that can generate positive emotions, thereby increasing individual's perceived enjoyment.

    1. Sorry. KakaoTalk already provides the kind of emoticons. No new suggestion again.

    For instance, college students would prefer colorful emoticons representing struggles at universities, whereas company employees in their 30s would prefer simply designed emoticons representing difficulties in their workplace.

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the fields and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.: 1. Please cite properly for below 1992 study. Researchers were not written.

    [ Theoretical background - #1 paragraph of 2.1 Achieved belongingness ]

    Meanwhile et al. (1992) described the sense of belongingness as

    1. What is "Big Five"?

    [ Theoretical background - #3 paragraph of 2.1 Achieved belongingness ]

    Also, Seidman (2013) examined the relation between the Big Five and Facebook usage and found the importance of belongingness and self-presentation.

    1. Why are there brackets for "overall"? With/out those brackets make different meanings?

    < individual's (overall) achieved belongingness >

    1. We are now living in the year of 2020 and everything is mobile. Do you think it is appropriate to simply say 'the number of mobile service users is growing'? In this year of 2020?

    [ Theoretical background - #3 paragraph of 2.2 Motives for emoticon usage ]

    Compared with Internet-based services, mobile services are more ubiquitous, immediate, and convenient (Zhou et al., 2010). With these advantages, the number of mobile service users is growing.

    1. Please check for grammar and typos from the beginning to the end.

    2. Please place hypotheses along with each arrow in the Research model (Figure 1).

    3. Please list references in an alphabetical order.

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    Reviewer report
    2020/04/01

    Major revision is required - please work on "Intention to purchase emoticon" first to make your research meaningful. Thank you.

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