Links and Hyperlinks: An Empirical Analysis of Internet Portal Alliances, 1995-1999
This paper examines the structure of over 100 alliances by Internet portals from 1995 to 1999. These alliances were an attractive empirical testing ground because of the large number and heterogeneous nature of the contracts, the high standards for disclosure in the industry, and the careful delineation of ownership, control, exclusivity, and other provisions in the contracts. The division of ownership and allocation of control rights displayed patterns consistent with the predictions in the incomplete contracting literature. Similarly, the exclusivity of the agreements appeared to vary, at least weakly, with the value of the product or service being made available to the portal, consistent with the licensing literature. In other cases, particularly in regard to the differing allocation of ownership and control and the varying completeness of the contracts, the empirical patterns indicated a more complex world than the one that theory led us to anticipate.
Published: "Ownership and Control Rights in Internet Portal Alliances," Rand Journal of Economics, 34 (Summer 2003) 356-369.