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Society and the InternetHow Networks of Information and Communication are Changing Our Lives$
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Mark Graham and William H. Dutton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199661992

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199661992.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 January 2022

Scarcity of Attention for a Medium of Abundance

Scarcity of Attention for a Medium of Abundance

An Economic Perspective

(p.257) 16 Scarcity of Attention for a Medium of Abundance
Society and the Internet

Greg Taylor

Oxford University Press

The Internet has a revolutionary potential because it has few limits to how large it can be. However, as this chapter points out, from an economic perspective, there remains a scarcity of attention. Viewing online markets as a traditional economic problem of allocating scarce commodities in the face of infinite desires, the chapter examines the central role of attention in online markets and its economic implications for businesses and consumers. It discusses the centrality of attention in the business models of a broad spectrum of online enterprises, and shows how such considerations shape pricing and consumers’ end experience. The role of search engines as important gatekeepers of attention is examined, and an explanation given of how economic tools are being used to make the online search industry more effective. This perspective is important enough for some to describe the digital age as an attention economy.

Keywords:   attention scarcity, internet economics, markets, economic implications, pricing, online markets

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