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Multihoming Behavior of Users in Social Networking Web sites: A Theoretical Model

The Article, Published by Monika Mital & Sumit Sarkar in Information Technology & People, 24(4), 2011, 378-392, 2012

Purpose - This paper aims to investigate the multihoming behavior of users on social networking web sites in the absence or the presence of product differentiation.

Design/methodology/approach - The approach is to build a theoretical model to explain the multihoming behavior of users on social networking web sites.

Findings - Under multihoming without product differentiation, all members of the smaller network multihome to the bigger network and the social networking web site with the bigger network size benefits from multihoming. Under multihoming with product differentiation, when the smaller network differentiates its product from the bigger network, then all members of the bigger network will multihome to the smaller network. Welfare is higher for both sided multihoming and both sided multihoming will happen only when the social networking web sites are differentiated in terms of features.

Research limitations/implications - The model is a theoretical model and will need to be tested empirically.

Practical implications - The results of the model indicate that multihoming results in increased utility for the users of social networking web sites when the two web sites are differentiated in terms of features.

Originality/value - From the literature available in the public domain, the paper has not found any existing theoretical model to explain multihoming behavior of users on social networking web sites. The paper fulfils this objective.