Mødedato: 09-10-2018

Quality considerations in the zero-price economy


Most consumers are offered products at a price of zero on a daily basis. Business models centred around the zero-priceproducts are not new. However, in the digital economy, new zero-pricemarkets have arisen with their own unique characteristics and vast scope.This paper sets out the potential dimensions of quality competition in zero-pricemarkets and the business models associated with them, including privacy and data security, advertising content, ease of switching, and choice in complement markets, among others. While there is a conceptual basis for identifying competition problems in zero-pricemarkets, there are numerous practical analytical and legal challenges that may arise. However, these challenges may be surmountable by competition authoritiesin many cases.When competition may not be functioning as expected in a zero-pricemarket but competition enforcement tools cannot remedy the situation, there are numerous opportunities for consumer or data protection authorities to act.In any event, competition, data, and consumer protection authorities have a complementary role in promoting competitive zero-pricemarkets, and so cooperation between them is essential, particularly with respect to advocacy and regulatory solutions.