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Selling Cookies

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Abstract

We develop a model of data pricing and targeted advertising. A monopolistic data provider determines the price to access "cookies," i.e., informative signals about individual consumers' preferences. The demand for information is generated by advertisers who seek to tailor their spending to the value of each consumer. We characterize the set of consumers targeted by the advertisers and the optimal monopoly price of cookies. The ability to influence the composition of the set of targeted consumers provides incentives to lower prices. Thus, the monopoly price of data is decreasing in the reach of the database and increasing in the number of competing sellers of exclusive data. Finally, we explore the implications of nonlinear pricing of information and characterize the exclusive data sales that emerge as part of the optimal mechanism.

Suggested Citation

  • Bergemann, Dirk & Alessandro Bonatti, 2013. "Selling Cookies," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1920, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1920
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    File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d19/d1920.pdf
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    1. William Adams & Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin, 2009. "Liquidity Constraints and Imperfect Information in Subprime Lending," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 49-84, March.
    2. Bergemann, Dirk & Pesendorfer, Martin, 2007. "Information structures in optimal auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 580-609, November.
    3. Dirk Bergemann & Alessandro Bonatti, 2015. "Selling Cookies," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 259-294, August.
    4. James J. Anton & Dennis A. Yao, 2002. "The Sale of Ideas: Strategic Disclosure, Property Rights, and Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 513-531.
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    6. Dirk Bergemann & Alessandro Bonatti, 2010. "Targeting in Advertising Markets: Implications for Offline vs. Online Media," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000284, David K. Levine.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peitz, Martin & Reisinger, Markus, 2014. "The Economics of Internet Media," Working Papers 14-23, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
    2. Huck, Steffen & Weizsäcker, Georg, 2015. "Markets for leaked information," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2015-305, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    3. Dirk Bergemann & Alessandro Bonatti, 2015. "Selling Cookies," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 259-294, August.
    4. Belleflamme, Paul & Vergote, Wouter, 2016. "Monopoly price discrimination and privacy: The hidden cost of hiding," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 141-144.
    5. Morlok, Tina & Matt, Christian & Hess, Thomas, 2017. "Privatheitsforschung in den Wirtschaftswissenschaften: Entwicklung, Stand und Perspektiven," Working Papers 1/2017, University of Munich, Munich School of Management, Institute for Information Systems and New Media.
    6. Chongwoo Choe & Stephen King & Noriaki Matsushima, 2017. "Pricing with Cookies: Behavior-Based Price Discrimination and Spatial Competition," Monash Economics Working Papers 07-17, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    7. Klaus M. Miller & Bernd Skiera, 2017. "Economic Damage of Cookie Lifetime Restrictions," Working Papers 17-02, NET Institute.
    8. Florian Morath & Johannes Muenster, 2014. "Online Shopping and Platform Design with Ex Ante Registration Requirements," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2014-21, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
    9. Anja Lambrecht & Avi Goldfarb & Alessandro Bonatti & Anindya Ghose & Daniel Goldstein & Randall Lewis & Anita Rao & Navdeep Sahni & Song Yao, 2014. "How do firms make money selling digital goods online?," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 331-341, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Data providers; Information sales; Targeting; Online advertising; Media markets;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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