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The Quest for Content: How User-Generated Links Can Facilitate Online Exploration

Jacob Goldenberg, Gal Oestreicher-Singer, Shachar Reichman (2012) The Quest for Content: How User-Generated Links Can Facilitate Online Exploration. Journal of Marketing Research: August 2012, Vol. 49, No. 4, pp. 452-468.

45 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2010 Last revised: 14 Nov 2015

Jacob Goldenberg

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem School of Business Administration

Gal Oestreicher-Singer

Tel Aviv University - Coller School of Management

Shachar Reichman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management; Tel Aviv University - Faculty of Management

Date Written: February 4, 2011

Abstract

Online content and products are presented as product networks, where 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. We investigate the role of this dual-network structure in facilitating content exploration.

We analyze YouTube's dual network and show that user pages have unique structural properties and act as content brokers. Next, we show that random rewiring of the product network cannot replicate this brokering effect. We present seven internet studies in which participants, browsing a YouTube-based website, are exposed to different conditions of recommendations. Our first studies show 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. We extend those studies to include dynamic structures, in which the network changes as a function of time or in response to participants’ satisfaction. We replicate our results using data from another content site (Last.fm).

Keywords: UGC, networks, social networks, product networks, electronic commerce, recommender systems

JEL Classification: D83, L14, M31

Suggested Citation

Goldenberg, Jacob and Oestreicher-Singer, Gal and Reichman, Shachar, The Quest for Content: How User-Generated Links Can Facilitate Online Exploration (February 4, 2011). Jacob Goldenberg, Gal Oestreicher-Singer, Shachar Reichman (2012) The Quest for Content: How User-Generated Links Can Facilitate Online Exploration. Journal of Marketing Research: August 2012, Vol. 49, No. 4, pp. 452-468.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1538283 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1538283

Jacob Goldenberg

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem School of Business Administration ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
972-2-5883226 (Phone)
972-2-58813 (Fax)

Gal Oestreicher-Singer (Contact Author)

Tel Aviv University - Coller School of Management ( email )

Tel Aviv
Israel

Shachar Reichman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

77 Massachusetts Ave.
E62-412
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Tel Aviv University - Faculty of Management ( email )

P.O. Box 39010
Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, 69978
Israel

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