Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How is the Mobile Internet Different? Search Costs and Local Activities

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Anindya Ghose, New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Avi Goldfarb, University of Toronto - Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, and Sang Pil Han, New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business address How is the Mobile Internet Different? Search Costs and Local Activities.

ABSTRACT: We explore how Internet browsing behavior varies between mobile devices and personal computers. Smaller screen sizes on mobile devices increase the cost to the user of reading information. In addition, a wider range of offline locations for mobile Internet usage suggests that geographically local activities can be particularly important. Using data on user behavior at a microblogging service (similar to Twitter), we exploit randomization in the ranking mechanism for the microblog posting feeds as a natural experiment to identify user search costs. We estimate a hierarchical Bayesian framework to better control for heterogeneity and show: (1) Search costs are higher on mobile devices: While links that appear at the top of the screen are always more likely to be clicked, this effect is much stronger on mobile devices; (2) The benefit of searching for geographically close matches is higher on mobile devices: Stores located in close proximity to a user are much more likely to be clicked on mobile devices. In this way, the mobile Internet is somewhat less “Internet-like”: search costs are higher and distance matters more. We speculate on how these changes may affect the future direction of Internet commerce.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/antitrustprof_blog/2011/02/how-is-the-mobile-internet-different-search-costs-and-local-activities.html

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Comments

I think both possesses different browsing behavior. I still prefer the personal computer compare to browsing the internet from my mobile device. I've tried it and some apps are very hard to access probably due to the service provider.

Posted by: Brad Fallon | Feb 16, 2011 5:40:03 AM

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