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The Nature of Markets in the World Wide Web

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Quarterly Journal of Electronic Commerce, 1 (2000), p. 5-12.

Lada A. Adamic and Bernardo A. Huberman


We studied the statistics in the number of visitors to sites of the World Wide Web by examining usage logs covering one hundred and twenty thousand sites. We found out that both in the case of all sites and sites in specific categories, the distribution of visitors per site follows a universal power law, characteristic of winner-take-all markets. We developed a dynamical theory of site popularity which takes into account the stochastic nature of user decisions to visit given sites as well as the fact that newer sites are appearing at an ever increasing rate. The model accounts for the observed power law behavior and naturally provides the amplification factor responsible for the increased performance of the top performers.

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