IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Growing Two-Sided Networks by Advertising the User Base: A Field Experiment

  • Catherine Tucker


    (MIT Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142)

  • Juanjuan Zhang


    (MIT Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142)

Two-sided exchange networks (such as often advertise their number of users, presumably to encourage further participation. However, these networks differ markedly on how they advertise their user base. Some highlight the number of sellers, some emphasize the number of buyers, and others disclose both. We use field experiment data from a business-to-business website to examine the efficacy of these different display formats. Before each potential seller posted a listing, the website randomized whether to display the number of buyers and/or sellers, and if so, how many buyers and/or sellers to claim. We find that when information about both buyers and sellers is displayed, a large number of sellers deters further seller listings. However, this deterrence effect disappears when only the number of sellers is presented. Similarly, a large number of buyers is more likely to attract new listings when it is displayed together with the number of sellers. These results suggest the presence of indirect network externalities, whereby a seller prefers markets with many other sellers because they help attract more buyers.

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:
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Marketing Science.

Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
Issue (Month): 5 (09-10)
Pages: 805-814

in new window

Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:29:y:2010:i:5:p:805-814
Contact details of provider: Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA
Phone: +1-443-757-3500
Fax: 443-757-3515
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

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:inm:ormksc:v:29:y:2010:i:5:p:805-814. 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: (Mirko Janc)

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.