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What's in a Name? Measuring Prominence, and its Impact on Organic Traffic from Search Engines

  • Michael R. Baye

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

  • Babur De los Santos

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

  • Matthijs R. Wildenbeest

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

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.

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File URL: http://kelley.iu.edu/riharbau/RePEc/iuk/wpaper/bepp2012-09-baye-delosSantos-wildenbeest.pdf
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Paper provided by Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2012-09.

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Date of creation: Dec 2012
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Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2012-09
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