Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gmail Still More Reliable Than Many Corporate Email Systems

(Posted by Mona Masghati)

Related to pricing at Zero:
Gmail is free and relies on quality of service and experience to attract and retain users.

How Much Are You Worth to Facebook?

(Posted by R.J. Lehman)

I came across this FastCompany article and thought I’d share it. It raises some interesting points and questions that I thought might have relevance later on in the semester.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Is Twitter Worth a Billion Bucks?

(Posted by Mona Masghati)

Business Week article on Twitter’s new round of funding: “Is Twitter Worth a Billion Bucks?”

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Google Developing a Micropayment Platform

(Posted by Dhirendra Sharma)

The below links appear to be directly related to our class discussion on "micropayments".

Google is developing a micropayment platform essentially leaning towards - "Open need not mean free"

1.) Google plan is available at:

2.) Analysis and discussion on Google's plan is available at:

Reinventing Print Media

(Posted by Ipshita Nag Deepak)

An interesting article on reinventing print media that shares useful insights on strategies to reinvent their business models.

[Administrator note: Apparently free registration on is required for access.]

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Media Demands a New Kind of Media Company

(Posted by Yael Caspi-Scwartzberg)

This article seems relevant to our class discussions since it discusses the economics of the online media vs. the traditional media businesses, including barriers to entry, economies of scope and possible business models.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How Big is the Internet?

Apparently, there are about 1.5 billion Internet users worldwide. About 210 billion emails were sent per day in 2008, which helps explain all the unanswered messages still in my inbox.

Music publishers: iTunes not paying fair share

(Posted by Emily Short)

This article may be of particular interest after our class discussion of the Rhapsody case. It looks like music industry execs are trying to get a bigger share of the iTunes pie with "performance fees."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

TV Everywhere

(Posted by Sheila Seles)

TV Everywhere is a response to the success of free, legal online video content on sites like hulu. MSOs and networks seem to be scared that these free services will cut into their revenue models, so they've begun to take measures to make that content available online only to existing cable or satellite TV subscribers.

The "TV Everywhere" initiative, led by Time Warner, is an attempt to extend the cable TV subscription model to online television content through an authentication process. Here's a broad overview of the service:

Now that TV Everywhere is going into trials, MSOs, networks, and studios are starting to talk about the revenue models they're testing:

Finally, because of comments made by Jeff Zucker and Rupert Murdoch, there are rumors that hulu will begin charging for subscriptions:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bits vs Atoms: Back to the Future with "Google Paper"

The economics of bits look pretty favorable for most applications, but some customers still prefer paper.

Yes, Google introduced this on April 1.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Confirming the Value of News?

Paying for Print: Over $100 a Year for WSJ Mobile App: Pricing Plan Aims to Get More Subscribers, Who Can Receive It for Free

DRM by the backdoor?

(Posted by Dhirendra Sharma)

BBC looks to copy protect content

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


How important is the social media revolution? Mark Zuckerberg says its a "once in a century" technology. This video tries to make the case with some remarkable statistics.

Pass it on to your friends, if you agree -- or if you don't!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


The Dallas Stars are implementing a dynamic pricing system for their hockey games. Economic theory predicts this will increase profits, and total welfare, but that consumers may be worse off overall. But then there are also the psychological factors to consider. Will consumers react negatively, or will this approach become more common?

Did You Know 4.0

Here's the latest "Did you know" video with some fascinating statistics about the media and Internet.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Do Media Moguls Understand the Economics of their Business?

If we take Netscape’s public offering in 1995 as the birth of the Internet era, on average over the next 10 years the biggest media conglomerates achieved less than a third of the returns available from the S&P as a whole.
...Understanding the fundamental flaws of these four tenets of conventional media wisdom—growth, globalization, content, and convergence—is essential to saving media shareholders of the future from the anemic returns of their predecessors. Each myth reflects its own confusion about the sources of competitive advantage.

That's Bruce Greenwald, Jonathan Knee and Ava Seave writing in the Atlantic

The Media industry is not immune to basic economics, like the fact that when the Internet lowers barriers to entry it also hurts profits. The latest downturn in media valuations is not simply a reflection of the recession, but reflects a much larger, long-term trend.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Welcome to Economics of Information

My name is Erik Brynjolfsson and I am starting this blog in connection with my Economics of Information course at MIT. The Economics of Information blog brings together news stories, academic articles , cases about interesting companies and other items that are related to the changing economics of information in our emerging digital economy.

In addition to discussion by students in my MIT course, it is also open to other interested participants. The norms of the community are similar to those of Wikipedia. We encourage thoughtful, provocative and respectful interactions. Over time, the collective contributions of this community can become an increasingly valuable resource.