We contribute to the lack of shared conceptualisation by creating a taxonomy for digital platforms.The taxonomy gives an overview of digital platform properties, with property values expressing the possible variations between digital platforms depending on their type. These properties and property values are then used in the typology giving a clear overview of all the digital platform types and how these types are related.

Taxonomy Version 1

The taxonomy itself is given in figure 1 . Market sides (Hagiu and Wright 2015) indicates the number of different groups of platform users in the market that are connected. Affiliation (Sanchez-Cartas and Leon 2019) refers to different ways that users (per group) can be connected to the platform. Centralization (Acquier et al. 2019; Sutherland and Jarrahi 2018) depends on the way the users can connect to each other. This can be via a decentralized search by the users of one side, or a centralized, automated matching by the platform software. The following two attributes are only applicable if the platform has multiple sides;  Participation (Ehikioya 2018; Täuscher and Laudien 2018) indicates if the market that is intermediated by the platform is Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumer (B2C), Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) or Peer-to-Peer (P2P); the latter case holds when platform participants are considered as ‘equals’, where C2C is a specialisation of P2P when users of at least two sides are only allowed to be private persons . The offering orientation (Ritter and Schanz 2019) differentiates between product selling, result-oriented services or user-oriented when it’s a combination of the previous two. The last two attributes are only relevant for user-oriented offerings. A digital platform offers immediate access (Andersson et al. 2013; Gobble 2017) if access to the product is possible when the customer needs it. Under-utilized (Frenken and Schor 2017) indicates that the product is offered because of excess capacity. For each property value an ontology module is constructed and visualized in the ontology page.

Platform Taxonomy
Taxonomy version 1

Taxonomy version 2

The second version also includes the inclusiveness/exclusiveness and relations of the properties and their values. Inclusive properties can have more than one value for the same property and are visually positioned under each other (e.g., user affiliation can be both registration and non-transaction, but not simultaneously non-transaction and investment). Exclusive properties cannot have more than one value and are always positioned next to each other (e.g., offering orientation is either product, or result, or user). If a value for a property excludes a value for another property or makes another property irrelevant, then this is indicated in grey (e.g., for a product oriented offering, immediate access and under-utilized are irrelevant and cannot have values; if user affiliation is non-transactional, then participation cannot be B2C, B2B and C2C).

Taxonomy version 2


The typology shows the 11 instantiations of digital platform type as super- and subclasses of each other. This means that every digital platform type captures the common features of the digital platforms that are instances of the type. Our typology confirms to the suggestions of (Codagnone et al. 2016) as it (i) has descriptive power and is empirically grounded, (ii) reduces complexity, and (iii) identifies similarities and differences between the types. In further revisions, we plan explain how the attribute values of our taxonomy are related to the nine types of digital platform that we identified before.

Figure 2: Digital Platform Typology