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Multi-Sided Platforms Column Introduction

 |  December 20, 2015

David Evans, Jun 09, 2012

This column is about the antitrust of “multi-sided platforms.” These creatures, which are also known as “two-sided markets”, play critical roles in a lot of industries. Examples include Apple’s mobile software platform, Deutsche Bourse’s financial exchange platforms, Facebook’s social networking platform, Google’s search engine, Monster’s job board, News Corp’s advertising businesses, Sotheby’s auction house, Simon’s Mall, and Visa International. They range from the old (the village matchmaker) to the new (mobile-based social networking).

The concept of multi-sided platforms was introduced a bit more than a decade ago. Today, there are hundreds of articles by economists on the topic, many of which are relevant to antitrust practitioners, and dozens of articles in law reviews. The economics of multi-sided platforms has been a key topic in antitrust cases around the world in industries ranging from advertising to payments to shopping malls.
This column provides a place for economists and lawyers to discuss competition policy towards multi-sided platforms. We’re looking for contributors to this monthly column and hope to get a vibrant debate going. The column is going to focus on anything that’s of interest to the antitrust community surrounding multi-sided platforms. Submissions should be in range of 800-2000 words.

I’m going to kick the series off with a discussion of how platforms deal with customers who do bad things and why this matters for competition policy. If you want some background on multi-sided platforms you might want to check out my online course on multi-sided platforms for business professionals, the course Dick Schmalensee and I gave on the antitrust of multi-sided platforms, and collection of essays on platform economics.

Links to Full Content

Platform users behaving badly