One of the best known auction sites is ebay (www.ebay.com). It offers an excellent service for the buyer and seller on a Business to Consumer basis (B2C). It offers a comprehensive list of specific topics of interested or a search to find a particular item for buying or selling. For example if you want a 35mm Fuji camera, you have the option to type it in the search space or click on cameras then on either Fuji or 35mm lens. It then comes up with a list of cameras, the price asked, the time left to bid, the location of the seller and most importantly a feedback report:
Every eBay user has a Feedback Profile made up of comments from other eBay users - an official "reputation."
Next to any eBay member's User ID, there is a Feedback Rating number in parentheses ( ). For example: Skippy (125) means that this member's User ID is Skippy and he/she has received positive feedback comments from at least 125 other eBay members.
The Feedback Rating system is:
+1 point for each positive comment
0 points for each neutral comment
-1 point for each negative comment
A star icon for 10 or more comments
However, you buy at your own risk if you are found out all ebay does is ban you from the site.
Another auction site is skyauction.com which specialises in travel including air travel, package deals and last minute travel for very cheap deals. It isn't on the same par as ebay as expected due to the number of hits it gets.
The Microsoft Network (www.msn.com) is an example of a web portal. It has an excellent layout and offers facilities from a web search to headline news. It has an easy to use menu system offering a vertical portal approach categorising sports, games, weather, chat to name a few. It also has search offering a horizontal portal approach. Hotmail is a feature of MSN (see ASP's). Yahoo (www.yahoo.co.uk) is a very good site, it gives a very good base to explore the web, offering free joining fees to all their communities, which cover just about every taste from cars to finding a date. It also offers a free email ASP similar to MSN allowing utilisation of email anywhere with an internet connection. You have the option to make up your own community or join another which is very good allowing you to develop your own user group. Another example of a web hosting community is a golf community (www.webfairway.com) which brings golfers and professionals together through the online community and includes a chat, the option to email a professional and talk about meetings and ways to improve your golf swing.
There are three basic terminology for a business:A very good example of how virtual organisations can costs is the comparison between Amazon (www.amazon.co.uk) and James Thin (www.jamesthin.co.uk). James Thin started off as a high street shaop and decided to broaden its horizons by branching onto the internet to boost sells and compete with the likes of Amazon. Interestingly Waterstones has teamed up with Amazon and as a result James Thin has suffered. This highlights the struggle for small businesses to survive in this ever increasing monopoly world and proves the wealth the web can offer. For example, i bought a book "The Essence of Artificial Intelligence" from Amazon, it cost me £12.47 plus £2.75 for delivery. This would have cost me £23.99 from James Thin, a saving of £8.77. This cost is running the high street store with sales persons, uniforms, rates, etc. However, with a virtual organisation it is impossible to pick a product up or test drive it.
1/ Bricks and Mortar - Basic high street shop
2/ Virtual Organisation - Only exists online
3/ Click and mortar - Existing online aswell as the high street
An ASP is basically processing software on the internet. Instead of spending big dollars on licensing and software, small and mid size firms can afford to be as powerful as their larger competitors by subscribing to an inexpensive monthly ASP service and they are virtually unlimited in their capacity to store information, It levels the playing field, "little dogs" can now behave like "big dogs". An Application Service Provider supplies a complete infrastructure for you, and manages the (inter)network and all the applications which you wish to run on all the computers within your company. An ASP often charges a fixed fee to manage your network and applications. One important point is that the network management takes place at the ASP. You do not have to operate your own server, but instead your computers are connected to the ASP's server through an open connection.Listings of ASP's can be found at www.aspstreet.com and www.aspisland.com both offering large lists of news and information about various applications.
A few services that can be introduced into a business are storing information (databases), email facilities (see hotmail), market research and legal advisors. There are many more. Market research is an extremely important to the success of a business. Depending on the type of business whether launching a new product or gaining competitive advantage market research has a use. These companies offer specific areas of research and get their information via emailing or through feedback from web businesses and users. Accent Technologies (www.accentindia.com) is an IT solution provider, offering clients advanced e-business and e-commerce solutions including strategic consulting, creative design and application development. With the emergence of internet as a powerful medium, the company is highly focused on Web Development as its core business area. eMarketer is the world's leading provider of internet statistics. Its reports combine original analysis with aggregated numbers from leading sources worldwide. Their website has been visited by millions of online professionals from over 140 countries; its newsletters are sent to over 350,000 e-mail addresses every week. The company's articles, market projections and analytical commentaries are featured by hundreds of news organizations and business publications every week.
A good site, www.webtomorrow.com gives a list of aerospace, agriculture, automotive, chemicals, computers, construction, energy, oil, gas, metals, paper and plastics consortiums. For example, www.aerospan.com is a consortium between 150 airlines including United, British Airways, Air France and Airbus. this site offers a tour, taking you from login through to bidding for aircraft component parts. www.ehitex.com is an example of a computer and electronics consortium between Canon, Compaq, Hitachi and Samsung to mention a few of the larger organisations. This site is similar to the previous example but for electronic components instead.
Marketing is the process of promoting a product or service, good marketing producing competitive advantage.
Email Databases (www.emaildatabases.com) has access to many thousands of email addresses, either as the manager of the lists or in the form of a broker, which covers a huge range of businesses and consumers for the UK, US and internationally. As well as these addresses they have an excellent network of contacts from all over the world. Their network covers large sections of the retail, services and leisure marketing needs. The UK Business Database has over 58,000 business contacts for most business types with named decision makers for most needs. For businesses requiring technical contacts within organisations, the UK IT Database has over 60,000 named and direct contacts within the IT sector and IT departments. These range from web developers to IT purchasing decision makers. www.emailreaction.com build and manage your email lists, run surveys and personalise content. It is very simple to use and is wizard driven.
A well known example of promotions seen on TV, magazines and papers is freeserve they are currently offering a surf anytime package for £12.99 per month. This rate is also done by many other service providers (ISP's) like aol. It is quite common to find a free CD with a magazine (especially computer magazines) to download the software for the internet.
www.bannerite.com is an web page that designs banners for your own special needs costing $24.95 per banner. www.impressionz.co.uk allow you to upload your banner which will be placed on another web page somewhere on their network on one condition that you place a banner of their choice on your web page (banner exchange). The more clicks or visits you get the more impression points you accumulate letting your banner appear more on the network. www.british-banners.com is another banner exchange network giving the same service as the previous example in UK and Ireland. A different example of banner advertisement is joining an affiliate group through www.commision-central.lycos.com and commission junction by joining you can browse the list of affiliates and pick one you feel will bring you the most money. Depending on affiliate you can get a percentage commission of an article bought through clicking on your site. Other affiliate partners pay per click (0.5 - 2 cents per click).
Partnerships can be very useful for selling and promoting your service or product an example of a partnership is a site called linkshare it joins together many of the Web's premier B2B players, including BizBuyer, Crucial Technology, Verio, KillerBiz, OfficeMax.com, IT-radar.com and Eletter. In joining this site you can get access to advice and the network of affiliates and merchants that have joined.
Nike is a massive international company. At the start page a list of continents and languages are displayed. You then have a few options for men, women and different sports, there is even a page so you can design your own shoe. It is costly (£95 - £145) and you can pay in a variety of currencies to suit. It is a very dynamic site and very appealing. Compaq also have similar options, in that you can pick your country. You are then taken to your countries site in a separate window and have the options of service, products and support for your country. It is not very dynamic but is easy to use and navigate around.
My bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland allows internet ready merchant accounts. It is an example of a click-and-mortar business having many high street branches aswell as an efficient online service for business/corporate accounts aswell as personal ones. It allows me to do a variety of useful things like transfer money from any other bank account or credit card. Amazon accept a variety of ways to pay, credit and debit cards, cheques/postal orders and gift certificates. eBay payments is a web site that provides a service for both the buyer and the seller allowing free service for buyers a cheap fee for sellers and a secure site for the transactions. This is an example of an end-to-end company.
My student royalties account offers a payment card protection. Payment Card Protection allows you to cancel all your UK payment cards if they are lost or stolen, stop unauthorised purchases (up to a maximum of £1,500) with just one phone call. It also offers a 30 Day Purchase Protection on most new retail items. If an item is accidentally damaged or stolen within the first 30 days of purchase, youre eligible to receive replacement, repair or reimbursement.
The purpose of an e-Wallet is to make the credit card process easier and more secure for the consumer. It allows one-click shopping automatically putting shipping and ordering information. It also remembers passwords and records all transactions. www.toptenlinks.com gives the top ten e-Wallets around including Catavault (www.catavault.com). It offers free registration allowing you to auto-register with your chosen shoppping sites. Microsoft Passport (www.passport.com) also gives the same features but is more widely used and many shopping sites will have a passport sign in button. The down side to using e-Wallets is that the e-wallet companies have all your information and with one click you could have something that you didn't really want. .NET Passport never receives purchase details such as what is being purchased, how much is being spent, or if the transaction was successful.
When a consumer makes a decision to purchase services or products from a website, they have to be led to close the sale on their own. The only sales tool online merchants have at their disposal is their website. More online shopping carts are abandoned at the checkout screen than anywhere else within a site. A recent Jupiter Communications study has shown that up to 27% of Internet sales are lost because consumers won't or can't correctly fill out the checkout forms on many websites. At the point of checkout, the ECML standard brings merchants and consumers together to help close the sale (www.ecml.org). ECML is a universal format for online checkout form data fields it was announced in June 1999. ECML provides a simple set of guidelines for web merchants that enables digital wallets from multiple vendors to automate the exchange of information between consumers and merchants. The end-result is more consumers will find shopping on the web to be easy and compelling.
The main reason for the use of e-Cash is secure and anonymous Internet payments. The e-Cash software is installed on a PC and operates with NCSA's Mosaic, an internet browsing tool. e-Cash shoppers make an off-line deposit to an e-Cash bank using local currency. When shoppers wish to withdraw money, they initiate an e-Cash request to convert some of their bank balance to 'cyberdollars'. The software generates an encrypted message and transmits it to the bank. The bank decodes the message, verifies the authenticity of the request and returns encrypted cyber-dollars to the shopper's e-Cash 'wallet'. Each cyberdollar has a coded serial number for tracking. www.ecash-atm.com is a site for merchants to offer ecash to their customers. E-Cash services (www.ecashservices.com) has a list of 36 online casinos for betting Ecash services allow you to buy credits for use if you are a member of any of these casinos. micro-payments are small transactions that are not economically viable when using a credit card payment typical scenarios where micropayments may be of use are buying small quantities of products such as books, coffee mugs and online betting. Micro-payments are usually associated with the concept of pay-per-use services.
E-checks allow online businesses to check if a customer is good for a sale. It allows businesses to deal with customers who don't have a credit card. The business is notified in about 48 hours if the e-check is good (www.e-checks-online.com). www.checkbyfax.net allow you to do e-checks by fax. Using this Software the business can accept personal and business checks by telephone, fax or e-mail for services or merchandise. This System prepares and prints checks to deposit into a bank on the same day. The customer's signature on the check is not necessary. All that's required is verbal or written customer authorization over the phone, fax or e-mail.
A smartcard is a plastic card the same size as a regular debit or credit card except instead of a black, magnetic stripe on the card; there is a computer chip. Smart cards can hold lots of information including personal details, access to buildings and stored programs (www.advancedcard.com). Smart cards can be used in stores or online.
The B2B e-commerce market has expanded greatly over the last few years, but the issues of trust, authentication, and privacy are still the top barriers to increasing uptake. Identrus is a financial industry response to the overwhelming demand to establish trusted business rules and regulations for high-value, high-volume B2B e-commerce transactions. Identrus was launched in 1999 by a consortium of the world's largest banks, including ABN AMRO, Bank of America, Barclays Bank, Chase Manhattan, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, and Sanwa Bank. Ernst and Young (www.ey.com) offer an intermediate payment structure for banks across the globe. www.technolosea.com allow payments by:
Micro-Payments - Transactions with a value less than $5.00
Consumer Payments - Transactions with a value greater that $5.00 and less than $500.00
Business Payments - Transactions with a value greater than $500.00
Barclays is an example of a click-and-mortar business, you must apply for an account in the branch by completing an application form for both personal and business account. However, after you have set up your account you can use all their web services including smart cards, access to your bank account details and transfer money and pay bills from another bank account or a credit card. One of the most widely known virtual banks is Egg (www.egg.com). It did offer an e-Wallet but has recently stopped but still offer a shop on the web through your account acting like a payment intemediary.
The advantages of a completely online bank are the reduced overlay for high street rates, staff, uniforms, paperwork (i.e. receipts, cheques). Also the cost of transporting and handling of cash is avoided. The main disadvantages are you can't walk into a branch and withdraw cash, you are restricted to online purchases.
My backup regime consists of having two copies of files, one copy being on the hard drive here at the University and one on my hard drive at home. When transporting data i either email files to University/Home or save it to floppy disk. It would be very time consuming to have two copies of every single bit of work that i have done. However, it is the safest way and with anything important i always make a back up copy.