IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Search engines: Left side quality versus right side profits

Listed author(s):
  • White, Alexander

Search engines face an interesting tradeoff in choosing the way to display their results. While providing high quality unpaid, or “left side” results attracts users, doing so can also cannibalize the revenue that comes from paid ads on the “right side”. This paper examines this tradeoff, focusing, in particular, on the role of users' post-search interaction with the websites whose links are displayed. In the model, high quality left side results boost demand from users, causing them to tolerate a search engine on which advertisers do not offer the lowest possible prices for the goods that they sell. However, because websites appearing on the left side still have an incentive to compete in the same market as advertisers, an increase in quality on the left side may reduce advertisers' equilibrium prices. I analyze the circumstances under which this will occur and discuss the model's potential implications for antitrust policy.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016771871300043X
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 31 (2013)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 690-701

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:31:y:2013:i:6:p:690-701
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijindorg.2013.04.003
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Susan Athey & Glenn Ellison, 2011. "Position Auctions with Consumer Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1213-1270.
  2. Jean‐Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Two‐sided markets: a progress report," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(3), pages 645-667, 09.
  3. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
  4. Benjamin Edelman & Michael Ostrovsky & Michael Schwarz, 2007. "Internet Advertising and the Generalized Second-Price Auction: Selling Billions of Dollars Worth of Keywords," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 242-259, March.
  5. Yongmin Chen & Chuan He, 2011. "Paid Placement: Advertising and Search on the Internet," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(556), pages 309-328, November.
  6. Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, Bruno, 2003. " Chicken & Egg: Competition among Intermediation Service Providers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 309-328, Summer.
  7. Mark Armstrong & John Vickers & Jidong Zhou, 2009. "Prominence and consumer search," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(2), pages 209-233.
  8. Volker Nocke & Martin Peitz & Konrad Stahl, 2007. "Platform Ownership," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(6), pages 1130-1160, December.
  9. Luis Rayo & Ilya Segal, 2010. "Optimal Information Disclosure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(5), pages 949-987.
  10. Varian, Hal R., 2007. "Position auctions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1163-1178, December.
  11. Hagiu Andrei, 2007. "Merchant or Two-Sided Platform?," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-19, June.
  12. Glenn Ellison & Sara Fisher Ellison, 2009. "Search, Obfuscation, and Price Elasticities on the Internet," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 427-452, 03.
  13. Pollock Rufus, 2010. "Is Google the Next Microsoft: Competition, Welfare and Regulation in Online Search," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(4), pages 1-31, December.
  14. Kfir Eliaz & Ran Spiegler, 2011. "A Simple Model of Search Engine Pricing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(556), pages 329-339, November.
  15. E. Glen Weyl, 2010. "A Price Theory of Multi-sided Platforms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1642-1672, September.
  16. Simon P. Anderson & Stephen Coate, 2005. "Market Provision of Broadcasting: A Welfare Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 947-972.
  17. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1976. "Price, Quality and Quantity Regulation in Monopoly Situations," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 43(17), pages 127-137, May.
  18. N. Gregory Mankiw & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 48-58, Spring.
  19. Tilman B?rgers & Ingemar Cox & Martin Pesendorfer & Vaclav Petricek, 2013. "Equilibrium Bids in Sponsored Search Auctions: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 163-187, November.
  20. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2001. "Information Gatekeepers on the Internet and the Competitiveness of Homogeneous Product Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 454-474, June.
  21. Andrei Hagiu & Bruno Jullien, 2011. "Why do intermediaries divert search?," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(2), pages 337-362, 06.
  22. A. Michael Spence, 1975. "Monopoly, Quality, and Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(2), pages 417-429, Autumn.
  23. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:645-667 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. A. P. Lerner, 1934. "The Concept of Monopoly and the Measurement of Monopoly Power," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(3), pages 157-175.
  25. Milgrom, Paul, 2010. "Simplified mechanisms with an application to sponsored-search auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 62-70, September.
  26. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:668-691 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Sonia Jaffe & E. Glen Weyl, 2013. "The First-Order Approach to Merger Analysis," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 188-218, November.
  28. Jonathan Reuter & Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Do Ads Influence Editors? Advertising and Bias in the Financial Media," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 197-227.
  29. Matthew Ellman & Fabrizio Germano, 2009. "What do the Papers Sell? A Model of Advertising and Media Bias," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 680-704, 04.
  30. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:31:y:2013:i:6:p:690-701. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.