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What's in a Name? Measuring Prominence, and its Impact on Organic Traffic from Search Engines

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Author Info

  • Michael R. Baye

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

  • Babur De los Santos

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

  • Matthijs R. Wildenbeest

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

Abstract

Organic product search results on Google and Bing do not systematically include information about seller characteristics (e.g., feedback ratings and prices). Consequently, it is often assumed that a retailer’s organic traffic is driven by the prominence of its position in the list of search results. We propose a novel measure of the prominence of a retailer’s name, and show that it is also an important predictor of the organic traffic retailers enjoy from product searches through Google and Bing. We also show that failure to account for the prominence of retailers’ names–as well as the endogeneity of retailers’ positions in the list of search results–significantly inflates the estimated impact of screen position on organic clicks.

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File URL: http://www.bus.indiana.edu/riharbau/RePEc/iuk/wpaper/bepp2012-09-baye-delosSantos-wildenbeest.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2012-09.

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Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2012-09

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Related research

Keywords: product search; position; internet; search engines; prominence;

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References

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  1. Anindya Ghose & Sha Yang, 2007. "An Empirical Analysis of Search Engine Advertising: Sponsored Search and Cross-Selling in Electronic Markets," Working Papers 07-35, NET Institute, revised Sep 2007.
  2. Smith, Michael D & Brynjolfsson, Erik, 2001. "Consumer Decision-Making at an Internet Shopbot: Brand Still Matters," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 541-58, December.
  3. Novarese, Marco & Wilson, Chris M., 2013. "Being in the Right Place: A Natural Field Experiment on List Position and Consumer Choice," MPRA Paper 48074, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Avi Goldfarb & Qiang Lu & Sridhar Moorthy, 2007. "Measuring Brand Value in an Equilibrium Framework," Food Marketing Policy Center Research Reports 099, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
  5. Avi Goldfarb & Catherine Tucker, 2011. "Search Engine Advertising: Channel Substitution When Pricing Ads to Context," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(3), pages 458-470, March.
  6. Daniel Houser & John Wooders, 2006. "Reputation in Auctions: Theory, and Evidence from eBay," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 353-369, 06.
  7. Hossain Tanjim & Morgan John, 2006. "...Plus Shipping and Handling: Revenue (Non) Equivalence in Field Experiments on eBay," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-30, January.
  8. Kinshuk Jerath & Liye Ma & Young-Hoon Park & Kannan Srinivasan, 2011. "A "Position Paradox" in Sponsored Search Auctions," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(4), pages 612-627, July.
  9. Anindya Ghose & Sha Yang, 2009. "An Empirical Analysis of Search Engine Advertising: Sponsored Search in Electronic Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(10), pages 1605-1622, October.
  10. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2009. "Brand and Price Advertising in Online Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(7), pages 1139-1151, July.
  11. Sappington, David E M & Wernerfelt, Birger, 1985. "To Brand or Not to Brand? A Theoretical and Empirical Question," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(3), pages 279-93, July.
  12. Maria Arbatskaya, 2007. "Ordered search," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(1), pages 119-126, 03.
  13. Babur De los Santos & Sergei Koulayev, 2012. "Optimizing Click-through in Online Rankings for Partially Anonymous Consumers," Working Papers 2012-04, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael R. Baye & Babur De los Santos & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2014. "Searching for Physical and Digital Media: The Evolution of Platforms For Finding Books," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of Digitization National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Novarese, Marco & Wilson, Chris M., 2013. "Being in the Right Place: A Natural Field Experiment on List Position and Consumer Choice," MPRA Paper 48074, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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