Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hal Varian on ad auctions

Muthu Muthukrishnan at Google in NY has a nice post about Hal Varian, Google's chief economist and a pioneer of the economics of the internet (among other things*). Here is a youtube video in which Hal gives an elementary explanation of Google's ad auction. MR points to this article about Hal in Wired: Secret of Googlenomics: Data-Fueled Recipe Brews Profitability.

Here is Hal's recent paper Online Ad Auctions, forthcoming in the May 2009 AER Papers and Proceedings. Here is Hal's earlier paper, Position Auctions, published in the 2007 International Journal of Industrial Organization. One nice thing about both these papers is that they explicitly take note of the link between ad auctions and the matching literature.

*Hal is the original Renaissance economist. Aside from his academic work on subjects from the internet to public goods provision, he's an author of bestselling texts and business books, and was for many years a NY Times columnist. One of his columns, When Economics Shifts From Science to Engineering, August 29, 2002, on the subject of market design, was about a paper of mine. When I marveled at how succinctly he was able to summarize, he told me that his secret (quoting Elmore Leonard) was to "leave out the parts that people skip."

No comments: