Search and Advertising

Economists are interested in how the design of ad auctions affects search engine revenues, and how access to the Internet – and thus to search engines – affects retail prices and possibly leads to higher prices for certain consumers.

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TAP Blog

This Thursday and Friday, the Third Annual Conference on Internet Search and Innovation will provide a forum where economists and legal scholars can discuss high-quality research relevant to Internet search and innovation, as well as examine related public policy issues in antitrust, regulation, and intellectual property. Several TAP scholars will be participating in the conference sessions.
Professor Lorrie Faith Cranor participated in the Mobile Privacy Disclosures panel during the FTC’s Advertising & Privacy Disclosures workshop. This post provides key take-aways from the panel discussion.
If you don't make a choice about Do Not Track, your browser will decide for you. If your browser is Firefox and you live in the US, the choice will effectively be to keep tracking turned on. If your browser is Microsoft IE 10, tracking will be turned off. Critics say the choice should be up to users. But in the US a non-choice will be interpreted as choosing to be tracked. While DNT interfaces should facilitate choice, active user participation should not be a requirement for privacy.
Recent tech policy news focuses on online privacy and cybersecurity.
Is advertising more effective when it’s “social”? At the American Economic Association’s 2012 Annual Meeting, Catherine Tucker, MIT Sloan, presented her research that poses this question and takes an important step towards answering it. Professor Alexander White provides his first-hand insight from the conference.
Professor Randal Picker, University of Chicago Law School, provides insight into Wednesday’s upcoming Senate Judiciary committee hearing on "The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition?"
As part of the ongoing online privacy deliberations, the issues surrounding online tracking and mobile privacy have been spurring a lot of debate. Additionally, the recent reports on smart phone data tracking have intensified concerns over privacy and the widening trade in personal data. In this post, TAP highlights recent scholar involvement in the discussions, and outlines key congressional hearings and recent news stories on the data tracking and mobile issues.
“Do not track” browser options could allow consumers to better control online collection of information. Leading privacy scholars and industry thought leaders are actively involved in the debates over the pros and cons of this proposed legislation. The blog provides some of the writings, hearings, and panels that examine the pros and cons of “do not track” legislation.
The upcoming Princeton workshop could define the meaning of do not track.
Last week, leading privacy scholars, Federal Trade Commission commissioners, and internet browser industry leaders met to discuss a “do not track” (DNT) system for the internet. The Browser Privacy Mechanisms Roundtable, hosted by Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, explored the contours of the regulations needed to effectuate do not track, the technical options to implement it, and the political and economic implications of do not track systems. Video, podcasts and transcript are available.
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Fact Sheets

Search Engines, Advertising, and Auctions

Search engines – such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and a variety of other smaller search engines – help users find what they are looking for online by finding web pages that match user-entered keywords. Search engines are free to users, but typically earn revenue through paid advertising.


Justice Department Announces Broad Antitrust Review of Big Tech

"It looks like the antitrust winter is over." — Tim Wu, Professor of Law, Columbia University

Tim Wu
The Washington Post
July 23, 2019

Featured Article

How Does the Use of Trademarks by Third-Party Sellers Affect Online Search?

This paper examines the effects of trademark use in advertisements by third-party resellers.

By: Lesley Chiou, Catherine Tucker