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NYU Stern Research Team Receive Best Paper Award at 2011 International World Wide Web Conference

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Anindya Ghose, Robert L. & Dale Atkins Rosen Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences; Panagiotis Ipeirotis, George A. Kellner Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences; and PhD student BeibeiLi’s co-authored paper, “Towards a Theory Model for Product Search,” received the Best Paper Award at the 20th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW 2011). The paper was chosen from 658 submissions to this year’s conference, which is the premier international event for Internet-related research, drawing upon scholars from across several disciplines and from around the world.

The award-winning paper empirically demonstrates that using consumer utility theory to build a structural econometric model of demand estimation provides a more precise framework for driving e-commerce search compared to existing models on search engines that typically rely on theories of document relevance and other reduced-form econometric approaches. Existing ranking algorithms on travel search engines typically induce consumers to focus only on one single product characteristic dimension (e.g., price, star rating, etc). The paper builds a new model that incorporates consumers’ multi-dimensional preferences for hotels (such as proximity to the beach, area with nightlife, tourist attractions, public transportation, etc) and proposes to build a system that ranks each hotel according to the expected utility gain across the consumer population. The Stern team implemented and empirically evaluated the practical implications of the new quantitative model by conducting multiple user studies. After examining more than 15,000 user rankings of search-based results on travel search engines such as Tripadvisor, Travelocity, Hotels.com and so on, the researchers show an overwhelming user preference for the search results created by their model as compared to a large number of existing models. In addition to hotels, this research can be applied to a wide variety of industries in which consumers do their transactions online.

Professor Ghose’s research interests focus on user-generated content and social media, digital advertising and marketing, and the mobile Internet. His work has been published in leading journals and his research has received several “Best Paper” awards and nominations. Professor Ghose is also a recipient of a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.

Professor Ipeirotis’ research interests focus on crowdsourcing and on mining user-generated content on the Internet. Since he joined Stern at 2004, he has received multiple "Best Paper" awards. Professor Ipeirotis is also a recipient of a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.