Competitive bundling of categorized information goods

Jeffrey O. Kephart, Scott A. Fay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemConference contribution

9 Scopus citations


We introduce an information bundling model that addresses two important but relatively unstudied issues in real mar- kets for information goods: automated customization of con- tent based on categories, and competition among content providers. Using this model, we explore the strategies that sellers (or automated agents acting on their behalf) might use to set both price and bundle composition, and the mar- ket dynamics that might ensue from such strategy choices. The model incorporates different categories of information, explicitly accounts for finite production and consumption costs, and allows for possibly heterogeneous valuations by consumers. First, we determine the optimal bundle compo- sition and price for a monopolist as a function of the seller's production costs and the consumers' preferences and con- sumption costs. For finite costs, finite-sized bundles are op- timal. Then, we use game-theoretic analysis and simulation to explore the behavior of the market when there are multi- ple content providers. We find that, if consumer preferences are homogeneous, sellers choose to offer the same bundle that a monopolist would choose, but that competition forces sellers to offer the bundles at cost. For heterogeneous pref- erences, positive profits are possible, but there appears not to be a pure strategy Nash equilibrium. This is manifested as a never-ending cycle of prices and bundle choices when sellers employ a myopic best-response algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEC 2000 - Proceedings of the 2nd ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781581132724
StatePublished - Oct 17 2000
Externally publishedYes
Event2nd ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, EC 2000 - Minneapolis, United States
Duration: Oct 17 2000Oct 20 2000

Publication series

NameEC 2000 - Proceedings of the 2nd ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce


Conference2nd ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, EC 2000
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software


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