Home Companies Winner Takes All: Case Research in How On-line Marketplaces Are Creating Trendy Monopolies

Winner Takes All: Case Research in How On-line Marketplaces Are Creating Trendy Monopolies

Winner Takes All: Case Research in How On-line Marketplaces Are Creating Trendy Monopolies


The next is an excerpt from “Winner Takes All: Case Research in How On-line Marketplaces Are Creating Trendy Monopolies” by Shirish Nadkarni.

In response to Wikipedia, “A community impact (additionally referred to as community externality or demand-side economies of scale) is the impact described in economics and enterprise that a further consumer of a great or service has on the worth of that product to others. When a community impact is current, the worth of a services or products will increase in keeping with the variety of others utilizing it.” We’ve seen many examples of how highly effective community results will be in creating unstoppable, winner-take-all juggernauts. As we mentioned earlier within the e-book, eBay was an early entrant within the auctions market within the US. Many later entrants like Yahoo and Amazon didn’t tackle eBay due to the robust community results it had established. The patrons on eBay got here as a result of it had a essential mass of sellers and sellers got here as a result of it had the most important viewers of patrons out there. Not like eBay which charged for listings, Yahoo and Amazon made the listings freed from cost. Even then, the sellers caught with eBay’s platform as they noticed extra gross sales transpire by eBay. Equally, firms like Airbnb and Instacart have established dominant positions of their market due to the robust community results they’ve.

Whereas community results will be very highly effective when the community has achieved a essential mass of customers and suppliers, it is vitally onerous to ascertain early community results. Typically, marketplaces have gotten going by first buying a essential mass of suppliers e.g. as DoorDash did by signing up eating places with a promise of making new demand for these eating places. One other technique that’s someday potential is to promote merchandise to suppliers that present worth on their very own. An amazing instance of this technique is OpenTable which bought a buyer and reservation administration system to eating places with out promising that it could drive buyer demand to those eating places. Its solely when OpenTable had signed up sufficient clients that it created its personal vacation spot web site that drove reservations for its restaurant buyer base.

Not all community results are as robust or world as we’ve seen with eBay and Airbnb. Some community results will be pretty weak or localized. Let’s discover a number of the nuances concerning the power of community results.


Multi-tenanting is follow of patrons and/or sellers to make the most of a number of networks on the identical time. Whether it is straightforward to multi-tenant and to make the most of a number of networks on the identical time, it turns into a lot more durable to ascertain robust community results. Meals supply apps are a great instance of a class the place multi-tenanting is widespread. It’s comparatively straightforward and advantageous for eating places to take part on a number of platforms as they’ve finished so far. Equally, it’s straightforward for customers to check out completely different meals supply apps particularly as a lot of them have been doing a “$10 off your first order” promotion to get customers. In consequence, the meals supply market has not been a winner take all market with a number of main gamers like DoorDash, Grubhub and UberEats.

Multi-tenanting can also be an issue within the trip sharing market. Many drivers go surfing concurrently to Uber and Lyft and take whoever supplies a trip first. In consequence, each firms have spent

an unlimited sum of money attempting to amass drivers completely to their platform. Once more, like meals sharing apps, the trip sharing market has not been a winner take all market.

Native Community Results

In lots of conditions, the community results usually are not nationwide or world in scope as we’ve seen with eBay and Airbnb. The community results need to be established market by market. OfferUp is an efficient instance of this phenomenon. It initially launched in Seattle the place it proved that the mannequin labored and was capable of elevate funding that allowed it to broaden to different markets. The corporate additionally saved a comparatively low profile within the press in order to not appeal to opponents in markets the place it has not but entered. Over time, OfferUp was capable of appeal to giant funding rounds that enabled it to quickly broaden to all the important thing markets within the US earlier than different gamers had the chance to enter these markets. Nevertheless, if a number of gamers had entered completely different native markets it could have been a lot more durable for OfferUp to create nationwide community results.

The identical phenomena applies internationally the place you usually see copycat opponents set up themselves earlier than you’ve an opportunity to enter that market. In lots of conditions, the US firm typically finally ends up buying a international competitor to enter the market if it determines that community results within the native market are too onerous to beat. Given the bigger market measurement within the US and the better entry to enterprise capital within the US, it turns into comparatively straightforward for the US firm to make the acquisition of a smaller international participant.

Community Results Throttling

Not all community results present an ever-increasing power because the variety of gamers enhance. They will get throttled and even reverse relying on the product. For instance, with trip sharing there are initially robust community results as drivers and customers be part of the platform. Nevertheless, as soon as the market has been saturated with drivers in order that the wait time is 5 minutes or much less it doesn’t actually assist if extra drivers be part of the platform. In consequence, within the US, Uber hasn’t been capable of kill off Lyft because it has additionally been profitable in attracting sufficient drivers to its platform to ascertain a viable service within the US.

Equally, Fb is a good instance of a community with very robust community results which have dissipated and even reversed to some extent. Most youngsters and younger adults not use Fb and as a substitute use Snapchat as their social networking platform. The reason being that with Fb, the youngsters have been compelled to simply accept their mother and father, uncles/aunts and grandparents as mates. Youngsters usually are not very comfy sharing their personal moments with their family whereas they’re much extra doubtless to take action on Snapchat which is especially populated with younger teenagers.

Commoditized vs Differentiated Provide

It’s a lot simpler to ascertain robust community results you probably have a differentiated provide versus a commoditized provide. Trip sharing is an instance of commoditized provide the place as a shopper you don’t actually care who your driver is – you might be trusting the app to make the suitable choice for you. In consequence, as soon as the community reaches a sure degree of liquidity (e.g., 5-minute wait instances or much less), the community results not accrue additional.

However, if you’re offering a protracted tail of differentiated provide as, for instance, with the Amazon market or with Airbnb, the community results proceed to accrue. The larger the availability, the extra doubtless that there’s robust value competitors among the many suppliers which makes {the marketplace} much more enticing to shoppers. At this time you’ll be able to go to the Amazon market and discover just about any merchandise making {the marketplace} worth proposition very robust for shoppers.


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