Benjamin Edelman

Assistant Professor, Harvard Business School

Ben Edelman is an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets unit.

Ben's current research includes analyzing methods and effects of spyware, with a focus on installation methods and revenue sources. Ben has documented advertisers supporting spyware, advertising intermediaries funding spyware, affiliate commission fraud, and click fraud.

More generally, Ben is interested in the evolving mix of public and private forces shaping the Internet -- how private parties and central authorities seek to change users' Internet experience. In this vein, Ben tabulated registrations in new TLDs and tracked Internet filtering efforts by governments worldwide.

Ben's academic research focuses on Internet advertising. Looking at pay-per-click auctions for online advertising, Ben has analyzed search engines' market designs, bidders' strategies, and possible improvements to these large and growing marketplaces. Ben's recent academic work also includes designing compensation structures to deter advertising fraud, and critiquing online "safety" certifications that fail to adequately protect users.

Ben was previously a Student Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, where his projects included analyzing the formative documents and activities of ICANN, running Berkman Center webcasts, and developing software tools for real-time use in meetings, classes, and special events. He oversaw ICANN Public Meeting webcasts and operated the technology used at ICANN's first twelve quarterly meetings. Ben wrote about domain name politics, particularly in the context of expired domain names subsequently used for pornography and registered with false WHOIS data. He developed methods for testing Internet filtering worldwide, without leaving his office, publishing reports on filtering in China and in Saudi Arabia.

Ben's consulting practice focuses on preventing and detecting online fraud (especially advertising fraud). Representative clients include the ACLU, AOL, the City of Los Angeles, the National Association of Broadcasters, Microsoft, the National Football League, the New York Times, Universal Music Group, the Washington Post, and Wells Fargo.

In winter 2009, Ben, Peter Coles, and Thomas Eisenmann taught an MBA elective course entitled Managing Networked Businesses, emphasizing management challenges in markets with network effects. Ben, Peter Coles, and Al Roth jointly convene a monthly Market Design Workshop. Ben teaches in HBS executive education programs Delivering Information Systems and Taking Marketing Digital.

Ben holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Economics at Harvard University, a J.D. from the Harvard Law School, an A.M. in Statistics from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College (summa cum laude). He is a member of the Massachusetts Bar.

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