Competitive Propagation: Models, Asymptotic Behavior and Quality-Seeding Games

In this paper we propose a class of propagation models for multiple competing products over a social network. We consider two propagation mechanisms: social conversion and self conversion, corresponding, respectively, to endogenous and exogenous factors. A novel concept, the product-conversion graph, is proposed to characterize the interplay among competing products. According to the chronological order of social and self conversions, we develop two Markov-chain models and, based on the independence approximation, we approximate them with two corresponding difference equations systems. Our theoretical analysis on these two approximated models reveals the dependency of their asymptotic behavior on the structures of both the product-conversion graph and the social network, as well as the initial condition. In addition to the theoretical work, we investigate via numerical analysis the accuracy of the independence approximation and the asymptotic behavior of the Markov-chain model, for the case where social conversion occurs before self conversion. Finally, we propose two classes of games based on the competitive propagation model: the one-shot game and the dynamic infinite-horizon game. We characterize the quality-seeding trade-off for the first game and the Nash equilibrium in both games.

Wenjun Mei and Francesco Bullo
IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering
Volume: 4
Number: 2
Pages: 83 - 99
Date: June, 2017
ICB Affiliated Authors: Francesco Bullo