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Rising prominence of multi-sided platforms in the Web 2.0 era: value conceptual analysis and design implications

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Abstract

This paper offers a conceptual analysis of the rising prominence of multi-sided platforms (MSPs) in the Web 2.0 environment. It attributes this prominence to three intrinsic properties of Web 2.0 applications: the lightweight programming model, modular architecture and complementarities. It also identifies emergence as a defining feature of MSPs in addition to the other features well-recognized in the literature. It then elaborates some design implications for MSPs. Its contributions lie not only in offering some theoretical explanations for one of the transformational effects of Web 2.0 but also in filling a gap in the literature on MSPs and multi-sided markets.