Internet & Data Economy© Photo Credit: Nicolas Herrbach -

Internet & Data Economy

Online platforms & data-driven business models: strategies & competition in digital markets

Online Advertising

Advertising-financed business models & competition for user attention are ubiquitous these days. Whether it's online shopping, social media or sponsored search results, the internet offers a multitude of novel advertising spaces and opportunities to serve targeted ads to specific customers. While the use of behavioural and personal data enables more tailored ads, it also raises questions about consumer data protection and privacy.

We have conducted a variety of research and projects in this area, drawing out findings using a range of methods including empirical surveys, stakeholder interviews and behavioural economics experiments. For example, in a study for the European Parliament we described technical aspects of ad tech and analysed the economic implications for consumers and businesses, while in a WIK Working Paper we examined advertising avoidance behaviour among users.



Interoperability is the exchange of data and its utilisation for the creation of functionalities which involve links between different applications and systems. From an individual company and economic point of view, a lack of interoperability can give rise to advantages as well as disadvantages, depending on the market phase and situation.

We carry out analyses on the economic effects of possible obligations. A discussion paper and a study for the BNetzA provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages as well as an evaluation in the area of messaging services.



The concept of neutrality in the internet ecosystem has evolved from a narrow focus on net neutrality through to a general concept of neutrality at different stages of the evolving digital value chain. While net neutrality refers to non-discriminatory access to and unrestricted use of access networks, concepts such as platform and data neutrality aim to address barriers and restrictions in upstream and downstream stages of the value chain. In particular, the Digital Markets Act seeks to limit the potential for discriminatory behaviour by “gatekeeper” platforms towards other market participants. In this context, we have already analysed problematic cases of tying and bundling, self-preference in search results, access restrictions for third-party providers and app store guidelines.


Peering & Interconnection

Peering & Interconnection

Peering and interconnection of different network operators, content and application providers is the technical basis for the fully networked internet as we know it today. The economic conditions underlying these interconnections have been the focus of significant debate between market participants. In this context, drawing on our extensive expertise and methodological knowledge at the technical, economic and strategic level we have the capacity to conduct well-founded analyses of interconnection markets and practices.