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The Dynamics of Competition in the Internet Search Engine Market

Abstract

Search engines hold the key to helping consumers access the wealth of information on the web. In this paper I examine the evolution of and competition in the internet search engine market. The goal of my analysis is to examine whether early entrants benefit in the long-run from their first-mover position in internet markets. I find that while early entrants (Yahoo, Lycos, Excite, Infoseek, and Altavista) still have an advantage, the pure "brand effect" advantage has been declining over time. Yahoo has maintained its leadership position by providing a superior product. The success of a wave of recent new entrants suggests that entry barriers are still quite low in the internet search engine market.

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