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Electronic Commerce
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Electronic Commerce is the buying and selling of products or services through innovative technologies such as Internet on­line services, business on­line services, commercial on-line services, CD ROM, multimedia kiosks, interactive televisions and screen phones. Growing at an annual rate of over 50% and expecting to reach $4 billion by the year 2000, the electronic commerce marketplace is the way many people will do business in the 21st century.

A business case for conducting electronic commerce is very compelling. Local companies can establish a global presence and market products and services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with comparatively low overheads. Businesses can define innovative products and services, advertise their existence, provide searchable electronic catalogues, support secure electronic payment systems, deliver these products and services, and provide customer support ­ all using specialized electronic commerce technologies. More importantly, businesses need to be involved in electronic commerce because clients, competitors and colleagues are exploring this medium now.

The electronic marketplace is a vast universe of products and services, with few clear road maps, directory services or clear instructions. Searching for products and services in this maze can be difficult, but rapid progress is being made so that electronic commerce is becoming a viable option today. If you are considering electronic commerce opportunities, you will want support for a number of considerations, such as:

  • As buyers and sellers in electronic marketplace do not meet face to face, authentication or proving of identity of both buyers and sellers is a must.
  • Certification or guaranteeing identity of buyers or sellers by an official third party is sometimes also required.
  • Once identity is verified, authorization or the ability to control access to specific resources or conduct certain transactions come into play.
  • Since transactions are conducted over an electronic medium, confidentiality or secrecy of transmission and integrity or completeness of transactions has to be ensured.
  • Nonrepudiation, meaning agreement to buy and sell between buyers and sellers, is another special issue that needs to be addressed in the context of an electronic marketplace.
  • Once such an agreement exists, confirmation or a method to record the order and receive a receipt must also exist.
  • Intelligent agents or personal shoppers are currently under development to act as a proxy for the buyers.
  • Finally, a secure, reliable and flexible method of payment for the product or services is crucial for the transaction to take place.

For examples of inovative uses of electronic commerce, visit some of the following:

Time Warner's Pathfinder Network
Experimental Stock Market Data
DealerNet - The Source for New Car Information,
Bank of America
Welcome to Pizza Hut!
FedEx Airbill Tracking Form
NPR Online
Lands' End, Inc.
Ticketmaster Online
Money & Investing Update
Holiday Inn: Online Reservations
Real Estate On-Line's New York City Real Estate Guide
Xenon Labs: The Universal Currency Converter
Homes and Land

Electronic Commerce Associations

EDI/Electronic Commerce Organizations

Security Issues

On Security
Press Release

Reference Material

DISA:Home Page
Doing Business in the Information Age
The EDI Group, Ltd.
EDI-TIE, The 'Net' place for UN/EDIFACT
ECRC Program
Advertising Law Internet Site

Payment Systems

CyberCash, Inc.
The CheckFree
FIRST VIRTUAL Holdings Incorporated
The NetBill Project
The NetCash(SM) anonymous network payment system
The NetCheque(SM) network payment system
Electronic Cash
The Smart Card Cyber Show

Electronic Commerce Magazines

12 Web Page Design Decisions for Businesses and Organizations
Electronic Newsstand

Electronic Commerce Mailing Lists

Internet Mailing Lists

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