On the Nature of Platforms

Richard Veryard (2017)

There are several ways of thinking about platforms. Economists tend to view platforms as essentially containers for transactions. Canonical examples: Amazon, Airbnb, iTunes, Netflix, Uber. One of the economic advantages of these transaction platforms is that they also act as container for content. When it launched in 1995, the Amazon website boasted a million books - far more than you could find in any bookshop. (This is related to the concept of the Long Tail.) So it becomes a place you can browse books and check reviews, independently of any intention to buy.