Title: How social motivation enhances economic activity and incentives in the Google Answers knowledge sharing market

Authors: Sheizaf Rafaeli, Daphne R. Raban, Gilad Ravid

Addresses: Center for the Study of the Information Society (InfoSoc), Jacobs Bldg., University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel. ' Center for the Study of the Information Society (InfoSoc), Jacobs Bldg., University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel. ' Ben Gurion University of the Negev, P.O. Box 653, Be'er Sheva 84105, Israel; Annenberg Center for Communication, University of Southern California, 734 West Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90089-7725, USA

Abstract: What are the antecedents, inhibitors and catalysts to providing information and participating in mixed fee-based and free online contexts? We describe the behaviour of about 500 |Researchers| in the Google Answers (GA) online service and over 70,000 questions posed on this system over a 29 month period. GA is a fee-based environment. Answers provided on it are |worth| over $20 (including tips) on average. However, labour economics of response to price and tip alone do not fully account for the online information provision market. Non-monetary incentives, such as feedback in the form of comments predict and explain some of the variance in participation. Descriptive and correlational findings presented here are based on many thousands of answers. We thus corroborate some of the hybrid theories of information provision behaviour presented to date mostly in laboratory settings. The participation of experts in GA is associated with a hybrid of material (economic) and social motivators.

Keywords: information markets; social incentives; economic incentives; knowledge sharing; Google Answers; online information provision; free information; fee-based information.

DOI: 10.1504/IJKL.2007.012598

International Journal of Knowledge and Learning, 2007 Vol.3 No.1, pp.1 - 11

Available online: 26 Feb 2007

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