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Viral Marketing, the idea of exploiting social interactions of users to propagate awareness for products, has gained considerable focus in recent years. One of the key issues in this area is to select the best seeds that maximize the influence propagated in the social network. In this paper, we define the seed selection problem (called t-Influence Maximization, or t-IM) for multiple products. Specifically, given the social network and t products along with their seed requirements, we want to select seeds for each product that maximize the overall influence. As the seeds are typically sent promotional messages, to avoid spamming users, we put a hard constraint on the number of products for which any single user can be selected as a seed. In this paper, we design two efficient techniques for the t-IM problem, called Greedy and FairGreedy. The Greedy algorithm uses simple greedy hill climbing, but still results in a 1/3-approximation to the optimum. Our second technique, FairGreedy, allocates seeds with not only high overall influence (close to Greedy in practice), but also ensures fairness across the influence of different products. We also design efficient heuristics for estimating the influence of the selected seeds, that are crucial for running the seed selection on large social network graphs. Finally, using extensive simulations on real-life social graphs, we show the effectiveness and scalability of our techniques compared to existing and naive strategies.
Date of Conference: 13-17 Dec. 2010