Market Power in Online Search and Social-Networking: A Matter of Two-Sided Markets

Florence Thépot

University of Glasgow; Droit & Croissance (Rules for Growth)

June 1, 2013

World Competition, Kluwer Law International, (2013) 36 (2)

The online-search and social-networking industries are characterized by the concentration of large market shares among a very limited number of actors. Being advertisement-based media, search engines and social-networking websites fall within the category of special types of markets known as two-sided markets or platforms. Two-sided markets or platforms have two distinct user groups which produce network benefits for each other. The platforms enable the user groups to minimize the transaction costs they would otherwise incur, in interacting with or searching for each other. Competition authorities cannot ignore the economics of two-sided markets in assessing market power in the search and social networking industries. This paper provides a framework for defining the relevant market and for assessing market power in the industries of online search and social-networking websites, focusing on the current leaders Google and Facebook and argues that online-search and social-networking websites may exert competitive constraints on each other, as they both operate in the relevant market for ‘monetization of user’s information by online advertising’.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 32

Keywords: Two-sided markets, Facebook, Google, antitrust, online-search, social networking

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: August 8, 2013 ; Last revised: August 23, 2014

Suggested Citation

Thépot, Florence, Market Power in Online Search and Social-Networking: A Matter of Two-Sided Markets (June 1, 2013). World Competition, Kluwer Law International, (2013) 36 (2) . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2307009

Contact Information

Florence Thépot (Contact Author)
University of Glasgow ( email )
5-9 The Square
University of Glasgow
Glasgow, G12 8QQ
United Kingdom
Droit & Croissance (Rules for Growth) ( email )
c/o Institut Louis Bachelier
29 place de la Bourse
Paris, 75002
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,207
Downloads: 362
Download Rank: 63,636