Consumers' Search for Information
Any discussion of the economic implications of the means by which sellers provide information to consumers needs to consider the means by which consumers search for product information in a digital world. In physical markets, consumer search activities include reading advertisements, calling vendors, and visiting stores. In a virtual marketplace, all these activities converge into web searches and web browsing. Not surprisingly, search services were the first market infrastructure to be built in the electronic marketplace. The focus of this chapter is to investigate the nature of existing search mechanisms as information channels. It also evaluates the effectiveness of search services and information intermediaries in terms of the economic efficiency that the digital information market may achieve through the proliferation of these search channels.
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