FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION PUBLIC WORKSHOP
EMERGING ISSUES FOR COMPETITION POLICY IN THE WORLD OF E-COMMERCE
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION FOR PANEL THREE:
ONLINE DISTRIBUTION AND MARKETING
10:00 A.M. TO 12:15 P.M.
MAY 8, 2001
What are the benefits of online distribution and marketing ("online distribution") to manufacturers and traditional offline retailers? What are the costs of setting up an online distribution system? What problems do moderately-sized manufacturers or retailers face in developing online distribution systems?
How have relationships been structured between manufacturers or offline retailers, on the one hand, and online distributors, on the other? What factors determine whether the online distributor is fully or partially owned by a manufacturer or offline retailer? What factors determine whether an online distributor is set up as a competitor collaboration? What factors affect whether the online distributor is established as a principal or an agent?
How have online distributors and the manufacturers they serve coordinated their marketing efforts? How have offline distributors and their associated, online counterparts coordinated their marketing activities? Under what circumstances have they coordinated pricing, advertising, or advertised pricing? Under what circumstances have they allocated business opportunities? What are the justifications for coordination? What are the relevant competition issues? How should dual distribution in these contexts be assessed?
Under what circumstances have manufacturers prohibited online distribution of their products or confined it to specific web-sites? What are the business justifications? How have the limitations been enforced? What are the relevant competition issues?
Under what circumstances have manufacturers contracted with online retailers or Internet service providers for exclusive or preferential treatment of a manufacturer's products? What are the efficiencies associated with such practices? What factors are relevant to determining whether such exclusive or preferential arrangements are likely to cause anticompetitive harm? How do efficiencies and other factors differ between online and offline distribution?
What steps have offline distributors taken in opposing online distribution? Have joint activities been involved? What is the role of state law? What are the relevant competition issues?
To what extent are shopbots or other information-collection technologies used to gather data from online distribution systems? Have online distributors limited access of such technologies to their data? What are the relevant competition issues?