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The Internet provides an infrastructure that makes the steadily increasing amount of information accessible efficiently, quickly, and inexpensively. Closely connec­ ted with this opportunity is the danger that the available information will over­ charge the individual information seeker's capability to process the information and to judge its quality. In this situation, information intermediaries can take upon the role of an expert and a guarantor of quality similar to intermediaries in markets for physical goods or finances. Thus, information intermediaries can be a trust­ worthy, information processing third party, mediating between information seekers and information sources. The current technological development has created information technologies that are capable to efficiently process large amounts of information. However, the pro­ vision of intermediation services necessitates a thorough examination of the basic principles underlying the economics of information intermediaries as well as a sound foundation on information technologies. The present work by Frank Rose addresses the fundamental question concerning the economics of information intermediaries by means of an abstract model. The model focuses on services that concentrate on the search and mediation of information, and identifies the essential influencing factors of the intermediary's environment. The model is then employed to investigate the impact of environmental conditions on the information intermediary on the one hand, and the optimal strategy of the information intermediary as a reaction to environmental conditions on the other hand.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. Introduction

Abstract
‘Entrepreneurial resourcefulness, driving the market process, is based on the realization and the exploitation of economically relevant information asymmetries.’1 The necessity of ‘being informed’ and the promptness of becoming informed is thus undisputed and steadily gaining importance,2 urged especially by the globalization3 of nowadays economies. The term information society4 is one possible description of this development.
Frank Rose

2. Information

Abstract
At the beginning of a scientific treatise a commitment about terms and notions used in the discussion has to be made.26 The definition of information and its properties is one basis of this thesis, therefore, the present chapter treats the basic conceptions of information (Section 2.1) and deepens the properties and effects of information in economic situations. The different possibilities for information acquisition will be discussed (Section 2.2), and the credibility of information sources as well as measures to achieve trust in information sources will be examined from the perspective of principal-agent relationships (Section 2.3). Further, the effects of information on market efficiency will be reviewed briefly (Section 2.4) as well as the circumstances of information as an economic commodity (Section 2.5).
Frank Rose

3. Intermediation

Abstract
In economic systems we can find institutions that mediate between buyers and sellers. Different fields of economic theory, especially trade and finance, are focusing slightly different aspects of these intermediaries, but a common characteristic of intermediation is buying and selling in a market with the aim of making profit, first defined by Stewart in 1770.317 Intermediation introduces a further step of transactions in the value chain and therewith causes additional transaction costs. So intermediation can only be advantageous if the increase of value added through intermediation overcompensates the transaction costs additionally incurred.318 However, the aspect of intermediation is not limited to the activity of buying and selling in the same market — intermediaries provide matching services and, in addition, a multitude of value-adding services closely connected to their basic activities. Intermediaries therewith fulfill functions that can overcome market imperfections and increase market efficiency; these are the subject of the present chapter. In Section 3.1 the basic functions and roles of intermediaries especially in trade and in financial markets will be introduced. Section 3.2 reviews theoretic concepts of intermediation and approaches to a justification for the existence of intermediaries, the focus is on the reduction of transaction costs. Questions of contract forms and the income of intermediaries are discussed in Section 3.3. The effects of intermediation on markets and the market microstructure of markets for intermediary services are reviewed in Sections 3.4 and 3.5 respectively.
Frank Rose

4. An economic model of information intermediaries

Abstract
Information intermediaries are economic agents supporting the production, exchange, and utilization of information in order to increase the value of the information for its end-user or to reduce the costs of information acquisition. One possible role of information intermediaries, securing an adequate production and dissemination of information as independent market participants, was already mentioned in Section 2.5.2. The aim to make profit is the origin of their activities. The information processing activities of information intermediaries can generate an informational surplus or added value.499
Frank Rose

5. Concepts and design of information intermediaries

Abstract
The present chapter associates the basic model of an information intermediary discussed in Chapter 4 with real-life concepts and applications as well as their technological realization. The basic model treated the business of information intermediaries on a rather abstract level and focused the fundamental function of information acquisition on behalf of other economic agents’ information needs, i.e., the search for information or objects on behalf of a client (Figure 10 in Section 4.1.1).750 This basic function is a common foundation of a broad class of real-life information intermediaries, for example, market research agencies,751 rating agencies in financial markets,752 news agencies, and information brokers.753 The essential characteristic of all these enterprises in the market for information is that they conceive information as an economic commodity754 and process information on behalf of their clients’ information needs (Section 2.5.3). According to Definition 3 information intermediaries perform information processing activities and provide value-adding services that go beyond the basic function analyzed in the model. These activities and services will be discussed in Section 5.1.
Frank Rose

6. Conclusion

Summary
The topic of the present thesis was the analysis of information intermediaries, particularly with regard to applications in open Wide Area Networks like the Internet. As a fact, information is gaining importance for today’s economies, but the increasing amount of available information and the decreasing density of information relevant to a particular task incident thereto call for possibilities to efficiently match information needs with available information. Intermediaries operating in physical distribution channels or in financial markets have demonstrated that the introduction of a specialized middleman in the relationship between opposite market sides can efficiently bridge incompatibilities between supply and demand. Information intermediaries can play a similar role in markets for information, in which information can be conceived as an economic commodity.
Frank Rose

7. References

Without Abstract
Frank Rose

8. Appendix

Without Abstract
Frank Rose

Backmatter

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