Date of Original Version

2002

Type

Conference Proceeding

Rights Management

http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/587078.587108

Abstract or Table of Contents

Balancing the needs of information distributors and their audiences has grown harder in the age of the Internet. While the demand for attention continues to increase rapidly with the volume of information and communication, the supply of human attention is relatively fixed. Markets are a social institution for efficiently balancing supply and demand of scarce resources. Charging a price for sending messages may help discipline senders from demanding more attention than they are willing to pay for. Price may also help recipients estimate the value of a message before reading it. We report the results of two laboratory experiments to explore the consequences of a pricing system for electronic mail. Charging postage for email causes senders to be more selective and send fewer messages. However, recipients did not use the postage paid by senders as a signal of importance. These studies suggest markets for attention have potential, but their design needs more work.

Comments

Copyright © 2002 by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from Publications Dept., ACM, Inc., fax +1 (212) 869-0481, or permissions@acm.org. © ACM, 2002. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in the Proceedings of the 2002 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work {1-58113-560-2 (2002)} http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/587078.587108

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