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What’s in a name? Measuring prominence and its impact on organic traffic from search engines

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Listed:
  • Baye, Michael R.
  • De los Santos, Babur
  • Wildenbeest, Matthijs R.

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Baye, Michael R. & De los Santos, Babur & Wildenbeest, Matthijs R., 2016. "What’s in a name? Measuring prominence and its impact on organic traffic from search engines," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 44-57.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:34:y:2016:i:c:p:44-57
    DOI: 10.1016/j.infoecopol.2016.01.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Armstrong, Mark, 2016. "Ordered Consumer Search," MPRA Paper 72194, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Mark Glick & Greg Richards & Margarita Sapozhnikov & Paul Seabright, 2014. "How Does Ranking Affect User Choice in Online Search?," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 45(2), pages 99-119, September.
    3. Michael R. Baye & Babur De los Santos & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2015. "Searching for Physical and Digital Media: The Evolution of Platforms for Finding Books," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy, pages 137-165 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:oup:jeurec:v:15:y:2017:i:5:p:989-1024. is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Andre Boik & Shane Greenstein & Jeffrey Prince, 2016. "The Empirical Economics of Online Attention," NBER Working Papers 22427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Product search; Position; Internet; Search engines; Prominence;

    JEL classification:

    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • M3 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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