Crowd-assisted search for price discrimination in E-commerce: First results

Jakub Mikians, László Gyarmati, Vijay Erramilli, Nikolaos Laoutaris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

After years of speculation, price discrimination in ecommerce driven by the personal information that users leave (involuntarily) online, has started attracting the attention of privacy researchers, regulators, and the press. In our previous work we demonstrated instances of products whose prices varied online depending on the location and the characteristics of prospective online buyers. In an effort to scale up our study we have turned to crowd-sourcing. Using a browser extension we have collected the prices obtained by an initial set of 340 test users as they surf the web for products of their interest. This initial dataset has permitted us to identify a set of online stores where price variation is more pronounced. We have focused on this subset, and performed a systematic crawl of their products and logged the prices obtained from different vantage points and browser configurations. By analyzing this dataset we see that there exist several retailers that return prices for the same product that vary by 10%-30% whereas there also exist isolated cases that may vary up to a multiplicative factor, e.g., ×2. To the best of our efforts we could not attribute the observed price gaps to currency, shipping, or taxation differences.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCoNEXT 2013 - Proceedings of the 2013 ACM International Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages1-6
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781450321013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Event2013 9th ACM International Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies, CoNEXT 2013 - Santa Barbara, CA, United States
Duration: 9 Dec 201312 Dec 2013

Publication series

NameCoNEXT 2013 - Proceedings of the 2013 ACM International Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies

Other

Other2013 9th ACM International Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies, CoNEXT 2013
CountryUnited States
CitySanta Barbara, CA
Period9/12/1312/12/13

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Keywords

  • E-commerce
  • Economics
  • Price discrimination
  • Privacy
  • Search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications

Cite this

Mikians, J., Gyarmati, L., Erramilli, V., & Laoutaris, N. (2013). Crowd-assisted search for price discrimination in E-commerce: First results. In CoNEXT 2013 - Proceedings of the 2013 ACM International Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies (pp. 1-6). (CoNEXT 2013 - Proceedings of the 2013 ACM International Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/2535372.2535415