Editor’s Introduction 18(3)

Vladimir Zwass, Editor
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 18, Number 3, Spring 2014, pp. 5-6.

Search engine advertising (SEA) has become one of the driving engines of electronic commerce, aimed as it is at the individuals who seem to already show interest in the products of the advertisers. A wide-ranging advertising campaign is no longer complete without this form of promotion. Two papers that open this issue of IJEC present complementary studies of the campaigns that include SEA. The first work, by German Zenetti, Tammo H.A. Bijmolt, Peter S.H. Leeflang, and Daniel Klapper, investigates the effectiveness of SEA in a campaign that involves multiple media, with consideration of the interaction effects between SEA, on the one hand, and television and banner advertising, respectively, on the other. A large-scale survey and a controlled experiment underlie the conclusions reached. These include high impact of SEA on several consumer metrics, as well as significant interactions with both TV and banner advertising. Aside from the contribution to our understanding of multimedia advertising in the age of search engines, the results—and the interaction effects in particular—have practical implications for the design of such campaigns.

The subject of campaign design is continued in the paper by Yanwu Yang, Rui Qin, Bernard J. Jansen, Jie Zhang, and Daniel Zeng. These researchers present a planning model for designing a metacampaign for SEA that consists of several sponsored search campaigns. The authors explicitly study the substitution and complementarity effects along three dimensions among the campaigns in the set. Formal modeling with the use of optimal control methods is supported by simulation, validated with the use of real-world data. The experimental results show the superiority of the offered planning approach to the one in common use. Specific guidelines for practice follow, to accompany the novel method for metacampaign study.

Along with SEA, electronic word of mouth (eWOM) is a native means of promotion in electronic commerce. Unsurprisingly, eWOM has been studied extensively in our field. However, most of the studies focus on its cognitive stimuli and effects, such as credibility. Here, Yu-Hui Fang expands this domain by including the affective aspects of eWOM that lead to arousal, presenting another avenue to the effectiveness of eWOM articulations, such as reviews. Much eWOM takes place in the setting of social networking sites, and this is where the present empirics are obtained. This is a significant novel contribution that broadens our theoretical understanding of the eWOM and reveals important facets, such as social attraction, to site designers.

Sebastian Voigt and Oliver Hinz study the long-term behavior of sellers and buyers in the name-your-own-price markets. The authors go beyond the existing studies of the sellers’ and buyers’ behavior to investigate the interaction between them. Would the long-term learning by buyers lead to an accurate assumption of the sellers’ costs and consequently to low, yet successful, bids? Would this, in turn, lead to a collapse of the market as the sellers’ profits are competed away by the buyers? The authors use a game-theoretic model in a laboratory experiment and arrive at the results, which will bring comfort to the sellers (and to the buyers that want these markets to continue).

Supply webs formed by the firms that continue to reinterpret their core competencies and turn to process specialists are a defining feature of B2B electronic commerce. A frequently outsourced process is the call center operation, and a frequent concern is service quality. This is the setting adopted by Guangliang Ye, Xiaowei Zhu, and Samar K. Mukhopadhyay for their study of multiple outsourcing with a two-supplier market. Through a formal game-theoretic analysis, the authors determine how the outsourcing firm can use the volume allocation to the respective suppliers in order to positively affect the quality of service they offer.

It is my pleasure and privilege to welcome the incoming members of the IJEC Editorial Board, Alexander Benlian of Technische Universität Darmstadt and Sylvain Sénécal of HEC Montreal. My thanks for their contribution go to the outgoing Board members, Harrison McKnight and Paul A. Pavlou.

Vladimir Zwass