2012- Reprints: Technology and Information Systems

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Recommendation networks and the long tail of electronic commerce, MIS Quarterly, 36(1), pp. 65-83, 2012.
G. Oestreicher-Singer and A. Sundararajan
(Reprint No. 213)

It has been conjectured that the peer-based recommendations associated with electronic commerce lead to a redistribution of demand from popular products or “blockbusters” to less popular or “niche” products, and that electronic markets will therefore be characterized by a “long tail” of demand and revenue. We test this conjecture using the revenue distributions of books in over 200 distinct categories on Amazon.com and detailed daily snapshots of co-purchase recommendation networks in which the products of these categories are situated. We measure how much a product is influenced by its position in this hyperlinked network of recommendations using a variant of Google’s PageRank measure of centrality. We then associate the average influence of the network on each category with the inequality in the distribution of its demand and revenue, quantifying this inequality using the Gini coefficient derived from the category’s Lorenz curve. We establish that categories whose products are influenced more by the recommendation network have significantly flatter demand and revenue distributions, even after controlling for variation in average category demand, category size, and price differentials. Our empirical findings indicate that doubling the average network influence on a category is associated with an average increase of about 50 percent in the relative revenue for the least popular 20 percent of products, and with an average reduction of about 15 percent in the relative revenue for the most popular 20 percent of products. We also show that this effect is enhanced by higher assortative mixing and lower clustering in the network, and is greater in categories whose products are more evenly influenced by recommendations. The direction of these results persists over time, across both demand and revenue distributions, and across both daily and weekly demand aggregations. Our work illustrates how the microscopic economic data revealed by online networks can be used to define and answer new kinds of research questions, offers a fresh perspective on the influence of networked IT artifacts on business outcomes, and provides novel empirical evidence about the impact of visible recommendations on the long tail of electronic commerce.



The visible hand? Demand effects of recommendation networks in electronic markets, Management Science, 58(11), 1963-1981, 2012.
G. Oestreicher-Singer and A. Sundararajan
(Reprint No. 220)

Online commercial interactions have increased dramatically over the last decade, leading to the emergence of networks that link the electronic commerce landing pages of related products to one another. Our paper conjectures that the explicit visibility of such "product networks" can alter demand spillovers across their constituent items. We test this conjecture empirically using data about the copurchase networks and demand levels associated with more than 250,000 interconnected books offered on Amazon.com over the period of one year while controlling for alternative explanations of demand correlation using a variety of approaches. Our findings suggest that on average the explicit visibility of a copurchase relationship can lead to up to an average threefold amplification of the influence that complementary products have on each others' demand levels. We also find that newer and more popular products "use" the attention they garner from their network position more efficiently and that diversity in the sources of spillover further amplifies the demand effects of the recommendation network. Our paper presents new evidence quantifying the role of network position in electronic markets and highlights the power of basing (virtual) shelf position on consumer preferences that are explicitly revealed through shared purchasing patterns.



The quest for content: How user-generated links can facilitate online exploration, Journal of Marketing Research, 49(4), 452-468, 2012.
J. Goldenberg, G. Oestreicher-Singer and S. Reichman
(Reprint No. 224)

Online content and products are presented as product networks, in which nodes are product pages linked by hyperlinks. These links are typically algorithmically induced recommendations based on aggregated data. Recently, websites have begun to offer social networks and user-generated links alongside the product network, creating a dual-network structure. The authors investigate the role of this dual-network structure in facilitating content exploration. They analyze YouTube’s dual network and show that user pages have unique structural properties and act as content brokers. Next, the authors show that random rewiring of the product network cannot replicate this brokering effect. They present seven Internet studies in which participants browsing a YouTube-based website are exposed to different conditions of recommendations. The first set of studies shows that exposure to the dual network results in a more efficient (time to desirable outcome) and more effective (average product rating, overall satisfaction) exploration process. The next set of studies extends the previous ones to include dynamic structures, in which the network changes as a function of time or in response to participants’ satisfaction. Furthermore, the results are replicated using data from another content site.




התבוננות ברומן מסע אל תום האלף מנקודת המבט של חקר מערכות המידע והאינטרנט
גילוי דעת, גיליון מספר 1, 127-132, ינואר 2012, המכון לחינוך מתקדם, מכללת סמינר הקיבוצים, תל אביב

Looking at A Voyage to the End of the Millennium from the point of view of research on information systems and the internet, Gilui Da’at, 1, 127-132, January 2012. The Institute for Advanced Education, The Kibbutzim College, Tel Aviv
(Reprint No. 227)

No Abstract


The 25/25 rule: Achieving more by doing less, International Journal of Production Research, 50(24), 2012, 7126-7133.
B. Ronen, T.G. Lechler and E.A. Stohr
(Reprint No. 228)

Many organisations suffer from a self-inflicted wound – they attempt to do too much! As a result, nothing is done well and profits suffer. Our article addresses this problem by suggesting that managers should focus on a subset of their current initiatives – a subset selected to maximise returns without overstraining resources. We address the following issues: What are the symptoms of work overload? How does an excessive workload adversely impact the bottom line? How can managers determine the throughput capacity of their organisation? What can be done to address the problem of excessive workload? Many, if not most, organisations attempt to operate beyond their capacity, with the result that inefficiencies abound, deadlines are missed and profitability drops. Based on research and consulting experience in many companies, our paper explains the basic concepts of ‘the 25/25’ approach to project portfolio management – an approach designed to increase profitability by concentrating only on the work that is essential to the survival and profitability of the organisation. The approach has been successfully applied to dozens of public and private sector organisations companies.


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