NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Fall 2010

Instructor Details

Han, Sang-Pil



By appointment

KMC 8th floor Room 178


Course Meetings

W, 6:30pm to 9:00pm

Tisch T-UC19

Final Exam:  December 8th 2010

Course web site

Blackboard is a web-based application that houses online materials for enrolled students across NYU. You can access our course by logging into http://sternclasses.nyu.edu (using your Stern netID/password), and choosing the course titled Ecommerce and Social Media. We will be using Blackboard extensively for this course, so make sure that you log in and get familiar with the course web site as soon as possible. 

Communicating with us electronically

As far as is possible, rather than emailing us, you should post your questions on the relevant Blackboard discussion forum. There are three discussion forums typically active: 

1. Discussion forum on class topics 

2. Administrative questions about the course 

3. General questions and comments about what we cover in class 

Before posting a question, make sure that you read through the course content on Blackboard, the frequently-asked-questions, and the questions other students have posted. Often, you will find the answer to your question here. In the event that you feel the need to email us directly with a question, make sure you use C20:0038 as the subject line, so that we recognize that it is from one of you, and so that our spam filters do not accidentally delete your message. Avoid sending email attachments.


Course Description and Learning Goals


The Internet is revolutionizing the way people, businesses and governments interact with each other. From Twitter to Facebook to Google, the shared infrastructure of IT-enabled platforms are playing a massive transformational role in today’s digital age. The web is now encroaching upon core business activities such as new product design, advertising, marketing and sales, word-of-mouth and customer service. It is fostering newer kinds of community-based business models. There is a lot of economic value accruing from the content generated in spaces mediated by social media and there are tangible means for monetization of such content through newer forms of online and mobile advertising. These processes are just beginning and will have enormous impact on our activities and the way we relate to people and organizations. This course will examine the major trends in electronic and mobile commerce and the emerging phenomena of user-generated content. Aside from Internet marketing strategies and business applications, the course will cover the business implications of social media such as blogs and microblogs, wikis, social networking sites, search engine and display advertising and other multimedia content emerging on mobile phone-based platforms. 

This course will examine the major trends and technologies in electronic commerce (ECommerce) that include online advertising, internet marketing and pricing, and newer social issues. Aside from various Internet marketing strategies and applications, the course will cover the business implications of social media such as blogs, microblogs (such as Twitter), wikis, social networks (such as Facebook, Myspace), search engine advertising (such as in Google, Yahoo and Microsoft) and other kinds of emerging online communities and applications. The topics will include issues that affect firms in EMT (Entertainment, Media and Technology) industries such as TV/cable, books, movies, music, and mobile content. The key objectives of the course include: 

1) Understanding how the presence of IT-mediated markets will alter advertising, pricing, retailing and other marketing practices. 

2) Discussing new strategic initiatives by firms engaging in Internet Commerce and Social Media and how that changes market structure and firm competition in EMT industries. 

3) Discussing relevant economics theory and understanding new emerging techniques like Economining that aid firms in making strategic and tactical decisions in the business world using quantitative data analysis

The course is complemented by cutting-edge research projects and various business consulting assignments that the Instructor has been involved in with various companies over the last few years. Students will work with real life datasets from firms such as Amazon, Google, AT&T, Korea Telecom, and firms in the microblogging service. We will be using STATA 10 to analyze data, and I will be teaching how to use the software package in class in order to conduct state of the art economic analysis. We will relate these to the fundamentals of information technology and its impact on business and society. While a big chunk of the course will be based on in class lectures, learning is multi-faceted through a blend of readings, lectures, visits from top business leaders and hand-on data analysis.


Course Outline

Course Perspective and Description

The Internet and related information technologies have caused the cost of many kinds of interactions to plummet. As a result, new ways of organizing commercial transactions as well as developing and maintaining social relationships have emerged: electronic commerce and social networking sites, respectively. The most obvious changes are incremental - faster and less costly ways of doing the same things we now do. But the underlying transformation is more fundamental - discovering entirely new things to do, and new ways in which to do them. Our goal in this class is to discuss the new business models in electronic commerce that have been enabled by Internet technologies, and to analyze the impact these technologies and business models have on industries, firms and people. Also, we discuss the new social media technologies and analyze the economic implications of these technologies on product design and customer relationship management. We will inform our discussions with insights from data and conceptual frameworks that can guide us. 

We will begin with a review of current ECommerce technologies. We will then introduce the most popular ECommerce business models and the fundamental economic and marketing principles that drive the growth of ECommerce. The first half of the course looks at how Ecommerce has changed the strategies of various firms and the structure of the industries that these firms are in. Concepts drawn from economics, marketing, and information systems (e.g., information asymmetries, efficient markets, transaction costs, switching costs, network effects, adverse selection) will be introduced and used to understand those impacts. The second half of the course examines how Social Media have changed the way that people interact with each other, entertain themselves, gain information, and make economic decisions. Further, we will also look at corresponding business implications of firms (e.g., monetization strategy, advertising strategies, etc.). To recognize how businesses can successfully leverage these technologies, we will therefore go beyond the technology itself and investigate some key questions. For example: 

1. Which industries in the EMT domain are most affected by the growing infrastructure for Ecommerce and Social Media? 

2. How does Internet marketing differ from traditional marketing? How will electronic markets affect the pricing, positioning and availability of products and services in the physical world? 

3. What type of channel conflict can arise on the Internet and how can they be resolved? 

4. What are the factors driving price dispersion in online markets? 

5. What are the key factors in online advertising? What role can search engines and online portals play in this regard? 

6. What is search engine optimization? How is it related to search engine marketing? 

7. What is the economic value of online display ads? How is it related to keyword search advertising? 

8. How do differences in geography affect marketing strategies on the Internet in EMT industries? 

9. What is the economic value of textual information in online markets? How can we monetize user-generated content on the Internet? What text mining techniques that enable this? 

10. What is the impact of electronic word-of-mouth and how can it be measured? 

12. How are mobile advertising and marketing different from traditional advertising and marketing? 

12. What is the impact of online social media and online communities on traditional businesses? How are these newer kinds of institutions affecting the “brand equity” of firms and products? 

13. How do firms monetize user-generated content?


Course schedule (subject to change)


Overview and Syllabus

Sep 8

E-Commerce Business Models and Economics

Sep 8

Online Retailing and Price Dispersion-I

Sep 15

Online Retailing and Price Dispersion-II

Sep 15

Online Demand Estimation & STATA Tutorial

Sep 22

Product selection and Availability in Internet Exchanges for Used Goods

Sep 22

Online-Offline Channel Interaction

Sep 29

Long Tail Marketing & Mid TERM Review

Sep 29

Mid Term Exam 1

October 6

STATA Advanced

October 6

Search Engine Advertising 1

October 13

Search Engine Advertising 2

October 13

Display Banner Advertising

October 20

Online Gaming and In-Game Advertising

October 20

Social Media, Online Communities, and Mobile Media

October 27

Mid Term Review

October 27

Midterm Exam 2

Nov 3

User-Generated Content and Social Media 1: Reputation Systems and Product Reviews

Nov 10

User-Generated Content and Social Media 2: Blogs and Microblogs

Nov 10

User-Generated Content and Social Media 3: Monetization

Nov 17

Prediction Markets

Nov 17

Guest Lecture: Dr. Eyal Carmi (Google)

Nov 24

Student Project Presentations

Dec 1

Final Review Session

Dec 1

Final Exam

Dec 8


Assessment Components

Deliverables, grading and class participation

Student grades will be determined based on class participation, homework assignments, midterm exams, a final exam and a project.  



Homework Assignments


Class participation


Midterm Exam 1


Midterm Exam 2


Final Exam




 Each assignment and project will provide you with a set of instructions and guidelines. Examinations are closed book/notes/computer/PDA (the idea should be clear). We will discuss their format in due course.

Course norms and expectations

We will use a variety of lectures in this course, and as such, it is crucial to appreciate that students in the class are co-producers of class discussions and collective learning. For this to happen, class members need to listen carefully to one another and build on prior comments. Discussions need to stay on track, and it is the responsibility of the faculty and students to collectively accomplish this. Your contributions to this learning process will be appraised in addition to the content of what you contribute.

Because this course relies heavily on class participation for its success, class norms and expectations regarding class behavior are very important: 

1. Attendance at every class is important to enhance your learning. Please schedule other activities at times other than when this class meets. Please arrive on time and stay from the beginning of class to the end. If you must miss a class, please advise the Professor in advance. If you unable to attend a class, it is your responsibility to find out from your classmates what materials were covered, what items were distributed in class, and what key points were collectively advanced. 

2. The classroom discussion presents a unique opportunity for you to develop and enhance your confidence and skills in articulating a personal position, sharing your knowledge, and reacting to new ideas. All of you have personal experience with electronic commerce and social media that can enhance our understanding of the subject, and that we want to encourage you to share.

3. The reading assignments will be posted on the course website, and or distributed in class. You are responsible for checking the course website before every class for announcements, assignments and schedule changes. HW assignments should be done individually. Late submissions will be accepted and graded, but you will only be given credit for 50% of your score. And your carriage may turn into a pumpkin.

4. Group projects should be done in groups of 4 students. After you have posted your personal Blackboard page, your classmates will know you better, and this will help facilitate the group formation process. During the semester, we will give you a set of detailed guidelines about working in teams. You will also be asked to evaluate the contribution of each of your team members after the group project.

5. During class sessions, you should turn off cell phones, beepers, laptops or other such equipment.

6. Please bring your name card for each class. For the first several weeks, please sit in the same seat each class. This will make it easier for me to get to know you and to make sure you get appropriate credit for your contributions. 

The grade we assign for your class participation is a careful, subjective assessment of the value of your input to classroom learning. We keep track of your contributions towards each class session, and these contributions can include (but are not restricted to) raising questions that make your classmates think,providing imaginative yet relevant analysis of a situation, contributing background or a perspective on a classroom topic that enhances its discussion, and simply answering questions raised in class. Emphasis is placed on the quality of your contribution, rather than merely on its frequency.

A lack of preparation, negative classroom comments or improper behavior (such as talking to each other, sleeping in the class or walking out of the class while the lecture is in progress) will lower this grade. Cell phones, smartphones and other electronic devices are a disturbance to both students and professors. All electronic devices must be turned off prior to the start of each class meeting. Students are expected to arrive to class on time and stay to the end of the class period. Arriving late or leaving class early will have an impact on a student’s grade. Students may enter class late only if given permission by the instructor and can do so without disrupting the class.


Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges  as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well  you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course




In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:




Classroom Norms


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


Printer Friendly Version