Exploring the Potential of Businesses as Open Data Publishers: A Case Study on Trustpilot

Bjarke Due Jensen & Reshal Katyal

Student thesis: Master thesis


Open data is a signifcant contributor to the current data revolution we are witnessing. Governments around the world are opening data to foster transparency and innovation. Open data is expected to create more than $3 trillion in annual value (Manyika et al., 2013). Te majority of research on open data is concerned with open government data, while little is known about companies as open data providers. Te purpose of this thesis is to explore companies as contributors of open data. In this study, we take the frst tentative steps in understanding external data sharing in a business context. To understand why companies would contemplate opening data, it is frst necessary to understand how they beneft from sharing data in a loosely coupled manner. Trough a case study on Trustpilot, we examine a data sharing initiative in a business context and pose the question, “how is external data sharing justifed in business?”. Te research question is addressed through a qualitative and naturalistic research approach. In the analysis of Trustpilot, we examine the openness of their data sharing initiative, the role of data sharing in the business model and explore Trustpilot as a platform to understand the rationale for sharing data in a business ecosystem. Based on our empirical fndings we propose that external data sharing in business is justifed by the opportunity to 1) increase customer utility, 2) extend brand exposure, 3) amplify platform dynamics and 4) leverage complementors in the business ecosystem. Additionally, we fnd indications that companies as open data providers is inhibited by 1) undermined value capture, 2) loss of control, 3) adverse brand efects and 4) the need for a proactive approach. Te picture that emerged from our fndings is that limited data access induces artifcial data scarcity. If no data access restrictions applied, existing business models could be threatened. We suggest further investigation of how business models and strategy can accommodate providing open data, while running a proftable business. Keywords Open Data, Shared Data, Data Spectrum, Open Data Business Model, External Data Sharing, Business Model, Platforms, Multi-sided platform, Industry Platform, Trustpilot.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages137
SupervisorsAttila Marton