III. Who Really Cares?
Much of the academic research done on Internet usability and surfing patterns among Internet users has been fueled by the needs of e-commerce. In many cases, this research is performed at universities in partnership with businesses. Because the stakes are high for companies to capitalize on new technologies, the pace of research has been fast in this area.
The dot com crash led many to believe that e-commerce was not profitable. Research shows that this is not true. Instead, the dot com crash was caused by unwise investments. The dot com days were like the Gold Rush; everyone tried to get a piece of Internet profits, but a lot of the outcomes just weren't profitable. Currently, the most profitable business model is a combination of bricks-and-mortar and Internet business.
(Jim Norton, Deutsche Telecom)
Driving new technologies: something to ponder
In addition, the efforts of businesses to attract business from Internet surfers has led to the development of new technologies that are then incorporated into other Internet sites. This innovation tends to occur in the more profitable sectors of e-commerce, including pornography.
In fact, e-commerce guru Jeffrey Baumgartner called online pornographers "the real pioneers in e-commerce." Why would this be?
Unique aspects of the web
The web creates a different business environment than a brick-and-mortar business. This has forced many traditional businesses to adjust their strategies to maximize their use of a new medium.
Research indicates that in the Internet environment, consumers have increased control, choice and value. The lack of physical restraints also makes types of transactions possible that never would have been before.
(Hoffman and Novak)
What do you know about it?
How else do consumers benefit from e-commerce?
Using the table above, think of examples of benefits to consumers.
IV. Effects on Consumers and Businesses
It's become a cliche', but it's true: the Internet has changed the way business is done.
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