Essays analyzing blogs and Wikipedia

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Essays analyzing blogs and Wikipedia
Authors: Mohammad M. Rahman [edit item]
Citation: University of Kansas  : . 2006. United States, Kansas.
Publication type: Thesis
Peer-reviewed: Yes
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Link(s): Paper link
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Essays analyzing blogs and Wikipedia is a publication by Mohammad M. Rahman.


[edit] Abstract

Still-nascent as an Internet phenomenon, blogs have paved the way for the resurrection of the world's oldest form of marketing: word-of-mouth. Firms are realizing that including promotional messages in the blog content itself may be an effective way to market their products, in addition to banner ads on blogsites. Do firms have the option to buy out blogger support? Do bloggers have the incentive to mislead their audiences in response to sponsorship offers? Should blog readers continue to believe bloggers, even when they face uncertainty or deception? In essay 1, we model promotional blogging within a game-theoretic framework to answer these questions, and solve for Bayesian Nash equilibria. Surprisingly, we find that blog sponsorships are feasible and likely, particularly when a firm with existing goodwill will promote its lower quality product. We discuss managerial implications and provide insights for policy design to govern blog marketing. Wikipedia is defined by its founders as the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit." This property we argue makes Wikipedia a public good and hence subject to underprovision. A puzzling feature of Wikipedia however is its enormous size at roughly seven times that of its commercial counterparts. What is driving this growth? And how can we assess the reliability of this giant encyclopedia arising solely from free-editing? In essay 2 we model contribution to Wikipedia and its reliability. We demonstrate that Wikipedia is indeed subject to free-riding and offer a novel explanation for the mitigation of under-provision under such circumstances. We also find that the public-good feature of Wikipedia and free-riding introduce a lower-bound in the quality of Wikipedia. We identify Wikipedia as part of a general Internet phenomenon that we call the Collaborative Net and that includes features such as citizen journalism and online reviews."

[edit] Research questions

"1. Blogging essay: We model promotional blogging within a game-theoretic framework in an attempt to answer the following research questions: • Will blog sponsorships be feasible in equilibrium? If so, how can we characterize this equilibrium? o Will firms attempt to promote their high or low quality products? o What is the effect of customers holding prior beliefs on the quality of products? o How do sponsorships differ across different kinds of blogs? o Will blogs remain informative even when firms are sponsoring? o Do blogs destroy established brands if sponsorships are feasible?

2. Wikipedia essay: To summarize, the main research questions we ask in this essay are as follows: • How can we explain the surprising empirical findings that an encyclopedia that anyone can edit is of a high quality? • How can we explain the surprisingly large size of Wikipedia, when it is a public good (created by people and used by people)? • How is the case of Wikipedia different from Open Source Software development, another information systems project that is a public good and where neither quality nor provision is a problem?"

Research details

Topics: Antecedents of quality, Size of Wikipedia, Commercial aspects [edit item]
Domains: Business, Economics [edit item]
Theory type: Explanation [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "Using well-grounded game-theoretic principles, we

were able to demonstrate that despite the prevalence of sponsorships, blogs still offered value. In solving the puzzles associated with Wikipedia, essay 2 adds to the general literature on public goods provision. The extreme free-riding result is a theoretical abstraction that has traditionally been treated as a paradox. In the economics literature, researchers have sought to explain this paradox and offered context-specific explanations such as the “warm-glow” effect (Andreoni, 1990). In the context of free-editing, we offered a novel explanation of the paradox as we are not aware of any other study offering a similar explanation." [edit item]

Research design: Mathematical modeling [edit item]
Data source: N/A [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: N/A [edit item]
Unit of analysis: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia language: Not specified [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"Essay 1: We analyzed the case of homogeneous reader groups and showed that the sustainability of sponsorships would depend on the existence of readers’ priors about the firm’s likelihood of producing a product of the claimed quality. When no priors are there, sponsorships are likely, but only when there is some degree of randomization. Although the expected revenues are small, we showed that firms would still be interested as otherwise expected revenues are zero from the same group. The feasibility of sponsorships in the scenario depends on the premise that readers have no priors; indeed, readers are more likely to engage in these activities if they have fewer clues about the products. In the scenario where readers have prior odds, the unique equilibrium that is perfect Bayesian (Nash) is in a pure strategy by the firm. If that pure strategy is to sponsor the blogger, then the readers’ posterior beliefs are reduced to prior odds. Subsequently, readers need a non-negative expectation of utility for firms to sponsor bloggers. This is very surprising as a result, as intuitively, one may instead presume that very low quality firms would resort to sponsoring bloggers.

Essay 2: The first characteristic of Wikipedia we investigated was its sheer size. Since Wikipedia can be considered a public-good, we demonstrated that the standard free-rider problem would emerge. In equilibrium, only a few volunteers would contribute. But this first result of ours obviously contradicts the empirical observation that Wikipedia is roughly seven times as large as its commercial counterpart. Consequently, we investigated mechanisms in which extreme free-riding was being mitigated. Our main result in this paper was an explanation for the size of Wikipedia based on equlibrium contributions depending on the differences in types. Free-editing allows for a variety of expressions; expressions that reflect differences in type. In addition, using well-grounded principles from information economics, we explained why Wikipedia’s commercial counterpart could be much smaller in size. Our results were important as we are able to establish both lower and upper bounds for the reliability of Wikipedia. Qualitatively, Wikipedia’s definition as a public good, combined with free-riding and free-editing helps to maintain the reliability of Wikipedia."

[edit] Comments

""The size of Wikipedia [can be explained] based on equlibrium contributions depending on the differences in types" p.91-92 "Qualitatively, Wikipedia’s definition as a public good, combined with free-riding and free-editing helps to maintain the reliability of Wikipedia." p. 92"


Further notes[edit]