Influence of search neutrality on the economics of advertisement-financed content

Abstract : The recently raised search neutrality debate questions the ranking methods implemented by search engines: when a search is performed, do they (or should they) display the web pages ordered according to the quality-of-experience (relevance) of the content? In this paper, we analyze that question in a setting when content is offered for free, content providers making revenue through advertising. For content providers, determining the amount of advertising to add to their content is a crucial strategic decision. Modeling the trade-off between the revenue per visit and the attractiveness, we investigate the interactions among competing content providers as a non-cooperative game, and consider the equilibrium situations to compare the different ranking policies. Our results indicate that when the search engine is not involved with any high-quality content provider, then it is in its best interest to implement a neutral ranking, which also maximizes user perceived quality-of-experience and favors innovation. On the other hand, if the search engine controls some high-quality content, then favoring it in its ranking and adding more advertisement yields a larger revenue. This is not necessarily at the expense of user perceived quality, but drastically reduces the advertising revenues of the other content providers, hence reducing their chances to innovate.
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ACM Transactions on Internet Technology, Association for Computing Machinery, 2014, pp.20
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  • HAL Id : hal-00908569, version 1

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Pierre Coucheney, Giuseppe D'Acquisto, Patrick Maillé, Maurizio Naldi, Bruno Tuffin. Influence of search neutrality on the economics of advertisement-financed content. ACM Transactions on Internet Technology, Association for Computing Machinery, 2014, pp.20. 〈hal-00908569〉

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