Web E-Commerce
Ch. 6 Lecture Notes

You are only responsible for the material on pp. 269-275 & 288-300 in Ch. 6

Objective #1: Explain the characteristics of three popular online auctions, eBay, Yahoo, & Amazon.

  • eBay is the most successful consumer auction.
    • rating system for sellers and buyers
    • English auction with seller setting a reserve price, bidders are listed but bid amounts are not listed. Bidders can't see which bidder made which bid. English auctions can be private with no bidder info provided to other bidders at any point.
    • Dutch auction with a minimum bid incremement. Bidders can make proxy bids however most action on popular items occurs in the last minute of the auction. Sniping can occur.
    • eBay is broad and includes many categories and the biggest audience.
    • eBay advertises alot!
    • eBay stores allow a business to show items for sale as auction items.
    • a search for a product within eBay even displays eBay stores items
  • Yahoo is an online auction competitor of eBay's
    • Yahoo tried making it free to sell in its auction site but charges sellers now
    • Yahoo may be losing money on its auction business that tries to attract small businesses to its Yahoo Merchant Solutions service for small businesses.
  • Amazon also competes in the online auction business
    • provides a guarantee to encourage more visitors
    • bought PayPal and encourages use of that payment system
    • zShops allows small businesses to sell their regular inventory within Amazon.
    • Amazon & eBay allow wary buyers to use an escrow service.

Objective #2: Explain the growing use of mobile communications technology & intelligent software agents.

  • As advances are made in wireless communications, more and more devices are able to connect to the Web in more and more locations. Laptops, PDA's, & cellphones can be connected in many areas of the globe.
  • Web pages usually need to be formatted in Wireless Access Markup Language (WAML) and sent with Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) rather than Hypertext Transfer Protocol (i.e. HTTP) in order for it to be viewed on a mobile device.
  • Soon mobile business will allow web surfers to switch from a desktop computer to a mobile device to another mobile device seamlessly.
  • Intelligent software agents (aka bots) or price alerts can be set up by customers to search the Web for a specific item. My Simone at mysimon.com is a famous bot that finds the lowest price for an item. The Web sites pricegrabber.com and discountmore.com can be trained to email a customer when they find a product selling below a specified price.

Objective #3: Explain how virtual communities and web portals are used in eCommerce.

  • Virtual communities are used in ecommerce and are being treated differently in the second wave of ecommerce.
  • Before the Web become real popular, Usenet newsgroups brought people together for questions and answers on specific topics. Usenet has been changed to Google Groups today. Educational institutions use Blackboard, WebCT, & Moodle to create a virtual environment for students in one college or each class. RACC uses WebCT but some instructors have used Blackboard. I use Moodle with my high school students since its open-source and free ;)
  • Google Answers provides a way for some people in the virtual community to be paid for answering other people's questions.
  • The WELL was on of the first communities and still exists but requires a membership fee.
  • GeoCities and Tripod give free web space to members in a virtual community environment.
  • In the second wave of ecommerce, online communication is more important within virtual communities.
  • Blogs are used more and more to allow companies, politicians, and others to attract customers and members in search of information on a product but who will also give free information by making blog entries. Even newspapers take advantage of the free labor that readers are willing to give when they write articles for the newspapers.
  • Social networking web sites such as craigslist, MySpace.com, facebook, digg.com, & Friendster allowing people to trade ideas, advice, and even advertise things that they have for sale.
  • Idea-based virtual communities such as del.icio.us allow people to "put their heads together." Del.icio.us & 43 Things allow people to place tags to website bookmarks to help organize bookmarks and share them with others that have common interests.