Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

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

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

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) and Matthijs R. Wildenbeest (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business) ask What's in a Name? Measuring Prominence, and its Impact on Organic Traffic from Search Engines.

ABSTRACT: 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.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/antitrustprof_blog/2013/02/whats-in-a-name-measuring-prominence-and-its-impact-on-organic-traffic-from-search-engines-.html

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