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How Can Internet Comparison Sites Work Optimally for Consumers?

  • Harriet Gamper


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    In today's information society, there is such a large amount of available information about any given good or service that consumers are unable to make an informed choice. Internet comparison sites (ICSs) could provide a solution to this problem by comparing markets for consumers and making a comprehensive recommendation. However, currently, they are not fully effective for consumers. Consumers do not trust ICSs because of concerns about commission biases and lack of full market coverage. To be fully effective, ICSs also ought to cover non-price dimensions such as product quality and after-sales service. Changing the economic model from the current two-sided platform to a one-sided platform could solve these problems. In order for this to occur, changes or clarifications to existing EU consumer laws might need to be made. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Consumer Policy.

    Volume (Year): 35 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 333-353

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jcopol:v:35:y:2012:i:3:p:333-353
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    1. Baye, Michael & GATTI, RUPERT J & Kattuman, Paul & Morgan, John, 2004. "Estimating Firm-Level Demand at a Price Comparison Site: Accounting for Shoppers and the Number of Competitors," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt923692d1, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    2. Glenn Ellison & Sara Fisher Ellison, 2009. "Search, Obfuscation, and Price Elasticities on the Internet," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 427-452, 03.
    3. Nelson, Philip, 1974. "Advertising as Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 729-54, July/Aug..
    4. Ganesh Iyer & Amit Pazgal, 2003. "Internet Shopping Agents: Virtual Co-Location and Competition," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(1), pages 85-106, November.
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