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Ad Revenue and Content Commercialization: Evidence from Blogs

Many scholars argue that content providers, when incentivized by ad revenue, are more likely to tailor their content to attract “eyeballs,” and as a result, popular content may be excessively supplied. We empirically test this prediction by taking advantage of the launch of an ad-revenue-sharing program initiated by a major Chinese portal site in September 2007. Participating bloggers allow the site to run ads on their blogs and receive 50% of the revenue generated by these ads. After analyzing 4.4 million blog posts, we find that, relative to nonparticipants, popular content increases by about 13 percentage points on participants¡¯ blogs after the program takes effect. This increase can be partially attributed to topics shifting toward three domains: the stock market, salacious content, and celebrities. We also find evidence that, relative to nonparticipants, participants¡¯ content quality increases after the program takes effect.

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File URL: http://www.netinst.org/Sun_Zhu_11_32.pdf
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Paper provided by NET Institute in its series Working Papers with number 11-32.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1132
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.NETinst.org/

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