Vincenzo Visco Comandini

Google and the market of search engines

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Search engine's multisided business model exploits indirect network externalities arising between users, advertisers, and web sites shown in organic results. The platform's algorithm simultaneously generates both organic results and relevant ads, highly appreciated by consumers as measured by their click-through-rate. The paper analyses the nature of this peculiar market, based on multiple and asymmetric transactions coordinated by the platform, able to turn the traditional negative externality, imposed by ads to consumers in traditional media, into a weak but positive one. It discusses the recent Google's European Antitrust case, where the popular search engine is charged for abusing its dominant position by deliberately downgrading vertical (specialized) engine's websites at the benefit of its own competing services, and keep publisher's valuable contents without their permission for its Google News service. Google has recently submitted specific commitments to close the case, in particular to show rival search engine links in a specific result's page, and to allow opting-out choices for publishers of their contents in Google News. By submitting commitments, Google firmly holds the principle of continuous innovation of its search engine result's ranking criteria, to not regulate as requested by search neutrality advocates.


  • Network
  • Reputation
  • Antitrust
  • Search Engines Economics


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