Search Diversion and Platform Competition

Andrei Hagiu, and Bruno Jullien


Platforms use search diversion in order to trade off total consumer traffic for higher revenues derived by exposing consumers to unsolicited products (e.g. advertising). We show that competition between platforms leads to lower equilibrium levels of search diversion relative to a monopoly platform when the intensity of competition is high. On the other hand, if there is only mild competition, then competing platforms induce more search diversion relative to a platform monopolist. When platforms charge consumers fixed access fees, all equilibrium levels of search diversion under platform competition are equal to the monopoly level, irrespective of the nature of competition. Furthermore, relative to platforms that cannot charge such fees, platforms that charge positive (negative) access fees to consumers have weaker (stronger) incentives to divert search


Search-diversion; Two-sided markets; Competition; Advertising; Exclusivity;

JEL codes

  • D4: Market Structure and Pricing
  • L1: Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
  • L5: Regulation and Industrial Policy


Andrei Hagiu, and Bruno Jullien, Search Diversion and Platform Competition, TSE Working Paper, n. 13-431, September 2013.

See also

Published in

International Journal of Industrial Organization, vol. 33, March 2014, pp. 48–60