The digitization of news markets has created a key role for online referring channels. This research combines field and lab experiments, and analysis of large-scale clickstream data, to study the effects of social versus non-social referral sources on news consumption in a referred news website visit. We propose that referring channels generate a new type of priming effect, denoted the referrer effect, as unique features of the referrer affect user behavior in a subsequent news visit. We find that social media referrals promote focused reading – visits with fewer articles, shorter durations, yet higher reading completion rates - compared to non-social referrals. Furthermore, social referrals decrease news sharing propensity, due to lower perceived novelty to peers of content discovered via social media. The results provide insights applicable to news outlets’ social media strategies, and speak to ongoing debates regarding biases arising from social media’s growing importance as an avenue for news consumption.

Crowdfunding platforms constitute two-sided markets, bringing together entrepreneurs and potential backers; this peer-based fundraising schema introduces new dynamics into the fundraising process. We focus on platform agents who play on both sides of the market, supporting the ventures of their fellow entrepreneurs and subsequently raising money for their own venture. Acting on both sides of the market is a peer-economy phenomenon that has not yet received much attention. We find that an entrepreneur’s backing-history has a significant effect on financing outcomes; campaigns initiated by entrepreneurs who have previously supported others have higher success rates, attract more backers and collect more funds. We find evidence that supports the existence of a causal channel from playing both sides of the market to increased crowdfunding success. We also provide evidence as to the existence of reciprocity. Project owners back their backers, when possible, at a rate that is significantly higher than other comparable projects. We estimate the effect of such actions on the performance of crowdfunding campaigns and show that playing both sides of the market is a rewarding strategy.