1. Most businesses should engage in e-commerce on the Internet. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Explain your position. * 2. Why do you think there have been so many business failures among “dot-com” companies that were devoted only to retail e-commerce? * 3. If personalizing a customer’s Web site experience is a key success factor, then electronic profiling processes to track visitor Web site behavior are necessary. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Explain your position. * 4.
All corporate procurement should be accomplished in e-commerce auction marketplaces, instead of using B2B websites that feature fixed-price catalogs or negotiated prices. Explain your position on this proposal. * 5. If you were starting an e-commerce Web store, which of the business requirements would you primarily do yourself, and which would you outsource to a Web development or hosting company? Why? * 6. Small Business e-Commerce Portals * a. Check out Microsoft’s Small Business Center and the other e-commerce portals.
Identify several benefits and limitations for a business using these websites. (Small Business Center and Entrabase. com are interesting sites that offer a wide variety of products and services. b. Which is your favorite? Why? * c. Which site would you recommend or use to help a small business wanting to get into e-commerce? Why? * d. Which sites would you use or recommend if you or a friend actually wanted to buy a car? Why? * 7. Comparing e-Commerce Sites a. Using a spreadsheet, record a set of information similar to that shown below for each product. Categories describing the product will vary depending upon the type of product you select – CDs might require the title of the CD and Performer[s], whereas toys or similar products would require the name of the product and its description. See figure 9. 21. A sample answer is provided in the exercise. b. For each product rank each company based on the price charged. Give a rating of 1 for the lowest price and 3 for the highest and split the ratings for ties – two sites tying for 1st and 2nd lowest price would each receive a 1. 5.
If a site does not have one of the products available for sale, give that site a rating of 4 for that product. Add the ratings across your products to produce an overall price/availability rating for each site. A sample answer is provided in the exercise. c. Based on your experience with these sites rate them on their ease of use, completeness of information, and order-filling and shipping options. As in part (b), give a rating of 1 to the site you feel is best in each category, a 2 to the second best and a 3 to the poorest site. a. Search using the terms “Ponzi Scheme” or “Pyramid Scheme. To find current examples in action, try searching for “plasma TV $50”, “cash matrix,” or “e-books” and “matrix,” or “gifting” through a search engine or auction site. . b. Search using the terms “phishing” and “identity. ” If possible include a printout of a real-world example that you or an acquaintance may have received via e-mail. c. Search using the term “third party escrow. ” What legitimate function does this serve? Provide an example of a legitimate third party escrow service for Internet transactions. How has the third party escrow system been used to commit fraud on the Internet? . Prepare a one page paper describing a type of online fraud not covered above. Prepare presentation materials and present your findings to the class. Be sure to include a description of the fraud, how to detect it, and how to avoid it. Use real world illustrations if possible. 1. Consider your own online shopping patterns. How much weight do you place on the presence of a name or logo or other trademark (such as the KitchenAid silhouette) on a Web site when purchasing goods or services? Do you ever stop to consider whether you may have been misled?
How could you tell the difference? 2. Brian Maynard of KitchenAid notes that the development of the Internet changed the problem of brand policing. What are some of these changes? What new challenges can you think of that did not exist in the preonline world? Provide several examples. 3. The companies mentioned in the case (e. g. , Kitchen- Aid, RBC, Disney, and Coke) were well established and enjoyed strong brand recognition well before the advent of the Internet. Do you think online-only companies face the same problems as they do? Why or why not?
Justify the rationale for your answer. No. Online companies are strongly associated with their domain name (google, ebay, amazon, etc. ). As a result, users can be assured they are getting the real thing simply by knowing how to read a URL. Recent problems with DNS servers aside, users can be assured that if a URL reads “amazon. com”, then they have reached the Amazon. com website and no other. Long- established companies, on the other hand, have to build their domain name recognition from the ground up. During this period, many users might be fooled by clever variations on the name.
Real World Activities 1. Online trust providers such as eTrust ( www. etrust. org ) and others review privacy policies, including information collection and use, sharing and disclosure, and security, and then certify Web sites as meeting their standards. Companies that achieve this can then display a logo to that effect. Search the Internet to discover how these providers prevent unauthorized lifting and use of their certification logos by Web sites that have not gone through the process. Prepare a report to summarize your findings.
Have you ever noticed these logos? Does it make any difference to you as a consumer whether a Web site displays them or not? Unauthorized use: trust providers give users a way to authenticate a logo via the trust provider’s website. It isn’t enough to just see the logo. However, this requires the user to take action. A more pro-active solution from the trust provider includes vigorously enforcing their rights in court. However, this takes time, money, and jurisdiction. It doesn’t address the fact that the bad guys can recreate their bogus websites in minutes. Trust in particular has also created security software that presumably helps spot fake certifications (among other things). 2. The case features technology developed by BrandProtect ( www. brandprotect. com ); competitors include MarkMonitor ( http://www. markmonitor. com ) and NameProtect ( http://www. cscprotectsbrands. com ). Visit their Web sites to compare and contrast their offerings. Then break into small groups to compare your findings and discuss new features that you believe are lacking, as well as why you think these vendors should include these features.
Brandprotect earches the internet, ranks threats, takes action. Markmonitor Searches the internet, ranks threats, takes action. Also searches for unauthorized or “gray market” sales. CSC Protectsbrands Searches the internet, ranks threats, takes action. Provides trademark screening services during new brand creation activities. RWC 2: Entellium, Digg, Peerflix, Zappos, and Jigsaw: Success for Second Movers in e-Commerce Case Study Questions 1. Is the second-mover advantage always a good business strategy? Defend your answer with examples of the companies in this case. Always” is rarely the correct answer to any question. Running in the second position has some advantages. Organizations have the opportunity to learn from the front-runners before investing their time and capital. Salesforce. com’s user interface isn’t so friendly, Home Depot staff lacked helpfulness, Hoovers and D&B lacked sufficient contact information, Google News doesn’t identify the best articles to read, Netflix charges a monthly fee whether or not you borrow any movies, and shoe shoppers lacked variety. Second-movers saw these problems and offered solutions.
As with the short-track skating metaphor, however, if the second mover starts too far behind the leader, they may find themselves shut out and with little appreciable advantage. Ebay copycats will likely face barriers to entry preventing them from providing significant competition. 2. What can a front-runner business do to foil the assaults of second movers? Defend your answer using the examples of the front-runner companies in this case. 3. Do second movers always have the advantage in Web-based business success? Why or why not? Evaluate the 5 strategies and the companies that used them to help defend your answer. 1Better, faster, cheaper #2Borrow tactics #3Copy the business model #4Follow the biggest leader #5Aim for the weak spot Real World Activities 1. Use the Internet to research the current business status of all of the many companies in this case. Are the second movers still successfully using their strategies, or have the first movers foiled their attempts? Have new strong players entered the markets of the first and second movers, or have business, economic, or societal developments occurred to change the nature of competition in these markets? Resources: Lowe’s – Lowe’s and Home Depot are running a tight race on the web * Entellium – numerous competitors, but Entellium appears most popular * Slashdot – (owned by SourceForge); has many highly rated competitors * Peerflix – competitors all appear to be DVD rental or retail sites, so Peerflix stands alone * Zappos – traffic ranks Zappos as the on-line shoe sales leader, no competitor is even close * Jigsaw – has several more popular competitors including Hoovers, Friendster, Linked In 2. Assume you will start an Internet-based business similar to one of those mentioned in his case or another one of your choice. Would you be a first, second, or later mover into the market you select? How would you differentiate yourself from other competitors or prospective new entrants? Break into small groups to share your ideas and attempt to agree on the best Web-based business opportunity of the group. First Mover: Create a mobile device that displays a live traffic map as an aide in driving navigation. The device would send GPS and time information via cellular connection to a central server.
This server would process all data received and calculate the various speeds on each road. The system would instantly recognize traffic jams and suggest faster alternatives based on real-time data. On less traveled roads, the system could use historical information to calculate probable speeds. The customer benefits from route planning that takes actual road conditions into consideration. Other uses include theft recovery, parental oversight of minor drivers, and commercial fleet monitoring. In addition, my company would have a collection of very useful traffic pattern data to resell.
Although users need not register each device, they will lose some privacy since the system would note their destination end-points, and logically, one of those end-points will likely be their residence. If the system’s utility doesn’t override privacy concerns, I might offer discounted fees for customers who allow data transmission. When first written, this system would be a first mover. However, it borrows from several technologies. The University of Illinois Urbana Champagne has a traffic mapping system for Chicago that takes road sensor data embedded in its main highways and turns it into a graphic map available via the Internet.
OnStar connects GPS data with cellular services. Other products offer commercial fleet location monitoring. No one product ties all these services together into a single, real-time transmission and display device. However, several companies are now moving on this project. Second mover: These answers should build improvements into existing businesses. By copying a proven strategy, a businesses reduces the risk that the idea itself lacks a market. However, these businesses must fight an uphill battle for name recognition. RWC 3: eBay versus Google and Microsoft: The Competitive Battle for e-Commerce Supremacy Case Study Questions . Do you agree with Google and Microsoft that eBay is now vulnerable to their assaults via Google Base and Windows Live Expo? Why or why not? Ebay is under threat. Ebay’s “buy now” feature is popular, it provides instant gratification, and many items sell for low, predictable prices. More importantly, it demonstrates that many people don’t care to wait around for an auction to conclude. This fits well with Google’s and Microsoft’s free listing strategies. Thus, eBay stands to loose many users. In the end, the real money will be made in guaranteeing transactions through services such as PayPal. . What are the major advantages and limitations of Google Base and Windows Live Expo? Which do you prefer or would you use both? Why? Go to their Internet websites and read reviews at other sites to help you answer. Advantages: Not all transactions benefit from the auction format. If the buyers and sellers already know the market price for their product, then an auction provides little benefit. Indeed, it would delay the sale. Gold bullion sales on eBay provide a good example. The price of gold is well known, and auctions tend to settle within 1% of this price.
More importantly, sellers do not have to pay a commission on sales made through Google Base or Windows Live Expo. Limitations: Buyers and sellers are left to sort out for themselves how to complete a transaction. Google’s approach requiring the seller to host the transaction. That is, sellers provide a brief description of the product and a link to their own website. These systems do not allow buyers and sellers to rate each other. This does little to promote trust between parties. Sellers must host their own transaction system, whereas eBay supports the entire transaction.
Google Base and Windows Live Expo support only the initial communication. 3. Are eBay’s development of Kijiji, acquisition of Skype, alliance with Yahoo, and other acquisitions as noted in this case enough to ward off the competitive assaults of Google and Microsoft? Defend your position. Both Google and Microsoft have a tremendous amount of financial and IT assets to throw into this market, and both of them appear willing to do so. Given the size of this global market and its potential for future growth, I think there’s little eBay can do to discourage its competitors.
Any moves eBay makes will be studied, analyzed, and potentially duplicated by both Google and Microsoft. Real World Activities 1. Go to the Internet to discover the latest developments in eBay’s auctions performance and its use of its acquisitions in its battle for the online classifieds market with Google and Microsoft. Have any new entrants appeared to seriously challenge these major players, including Craigslist? Which players appear to be the winners and losers in this competition? Defend your position to the class. Craigslist. om competes with Google and eBay as well as with job sites and personal listings. However, Ebay’s acquisitions may help it compete against Craigslist in these areas as well. Alexa. com shows traffic patterns within eBay. Key destinations within eBay include search, eBay’s overseas sites, user’s own areas within eBay, and eBay’s commerce site, “half. com”. Ebay’s traffic ratings have been declining since early 2006, but they have flattened out over the last six months. Yahoo Auctions may pose a serious threat given the number of registered users and the amount of traffic Yahoo receives overall. 2.
Personalize online classified Web pages that are accessible to others online have a great potential for serious security, privacy, fraud, and spam assaults by online criminals, hackers, and spammers. Use the Internet to research how the companies in this case are protecting users of their products from such assaults. Break into small groups with your classmates to discuss this issue, your research results, and other steps that users and the companies could take to improve the security of online classifieds. Google Base, Windows Expo Live, Flickr and others have a “report-this” feature for each posting.
Wikipedia allows users to simply change an article back to the way it was and report abusive users. Wikipedia’s approach allows instant corrections. High profile cases of stalking, sexual predators, and convicted child abusers with accounts on these sites have kept this subject in the spotlight. State attorneys general are taking direct action. And Facebook (among others) is beefing up its own protection practices. One solution might be to eliminate anonymity. One way to do this might be to require users to register using a credit card. Users would face account deletion for abusive activities.
Users would need to use a different credit card to re-register. Yes, users could continue applying for new credit cards, but even this has practical limits. It may also discourage children from creating accounts and posting personal information. Users engaged in criminal activity might also be easier to identify and capture. Wikipedia, on the other hand, simply tracks and reports the IP address for each edit made by anonymous users. It also retains IP address information from registered users, but it makes this information visible only to a very few users with “check user” access.
In an ideal world, none of this should be necessary, but the Internet is not an ideal world. It is simply an electronic mirror of the real-world, and in the real world banks are equipped with security cameras and occasionally, guards with guns. RWC 4: eBay Inc. : Running the Right Play in the Right Country Case Study Questions 1. Why has eBay become such a successful and diverse online marketplace? Visit the eBay website to help with your answer, and check out the many trading categories, specialty sites, and other features. 2. What do you think of eBay’s playbook concept? Why do they call it a playbook?
A playbook is a published set of plays that football players learn and practice before a game. These plays allows the team captain or coach to quickly communicate set plans without having to spend a lot of time explaining the details in the middle of a game. Playbooks are created by a team’s coaches and players, they are modified during the course of a season as needed, and they are thrown out when special cases arise. That is, the team is not bound to follow the playbook when a chance opportunity arises. Ebay probably adopted the term playbook because it liked the connotations.
Playbooks offer more than one approach to solve a problem, they are shared between members so everyone can get “on the same page”, they are actively reviewed, practiced, and used, and team players can suggest revisions – all activities eBay wishes to encourage. “Policy manuals” on the other hand, often gather dust, are generally ignored by busy managers, and tend to become dated quickly. Sure, it’s just a matter of semantics, but in this case, the semantics are designed to promote the attitude necessary to become and remain a “learning organization. The metaphor, unfortunately, may fail to immediately communicate these ideas to management members unfamiliar with sports. However, the concept is simple enough that the uninitiated should grasp it quickly: here’s how we do things; here’s how we update how we do things. Incidentally, ISO certification requires (in part) this approach to policy and policy change. Real World Activities 1. Ebay is aggressively, and successfully, moving into new international markets. Using the Internet, see if you can find one or two of eBay’s international sites.
How do they differ from the eBay site in North America? Can you find products that are unique to the international site? How about services and features? Some international sites (available through the eBay home page): * Argentina “MercadoLibre” * Australia “eBay” * Austria “eBay. at” * … As a minimum, these international sites differ by language and layout. In some cases, such as Argentina, the brand name and log are entirely different. Even though eBay bought out a German competitor, the German site uses eBay’s brand identity. Some sites promote eBay’s new product Skype, but others do not.
Skype promotion may depend on a country’s telecommunications infrastructure and regulations. Even the U. S. government is having difficulty determining whether or not Internet telephony counts as a phone call or a data transmission (the former is subject to taxes, and the latter is not). 2. The eBay playbook is designed to assist in making the decisions necessary to tailor eBay’s presence to the unique nature of an international arena. In most cases, however, the playbook cannot tell them what to expect when moving into a new country.
Break into small groups with your classmates, and brainstorm some of the challenges of opening an eBay site in a new country. Pick a country and see if you can imagine the playbook for that new market. Challenges: * Cultural * Political * Legal * Market preferences * Infrastructure * User sophistication * Local competition Playbook: Research existing competitors. Determine who is succeeding and who is failing. Purchase the most successful competitor. Provide these new managers with eBay’s tools (technological, marketing, etc) and allow them to choose those which they find most useful in their market. ——————————————- [ 1 ]. http://www. lowes. com/ [ 2 ]. http://www. alexa. com/data/details/related_links/homedepot. com? q= [ 3 ]. http://www. Entellium. com/ [ 4 ]. http://www. alexa. com/data/details/related_links/Entellium. com? q= [ 5 ]. http://slashdot. org/ [ 6 ]. http://web. sourceforge. com/ [ 7 ]. http://www. alexa. com/data/details/related_links/slashdot. org? q= [ 8 ]. http://www. peerflix. com/ [ 9 ]. http://www. alexa. com/data/details/related_links/Peerflix. com? q= [ 10 ]. http://www. zappos. com/ [ 11 ]. http://www. lexa. com/data/details/related_links/zappos. com? q= [ 12 ]. http://jigsaw. com/ [ 13 ]. http://www. alexa. com/data/details/related_links/jigsaw. com? q= [ 14 ]. http://www. alexa. com/data/details/traffic_details/ebay. com [ 15 ]. http://www. consumeraffairs. com/news04/2007/10/ny_facebook. html [ 16 ]. http://technology. timesonline. co. uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article2677351. ece [ 17 ]. http://www. ebay. com/ [ 18 ]. http://www. mercadolibre. com. ar/home_visitor. html [ 19 ]. http://www. ebay. com. au/? redir=0 [ 20 ]. http://www. ebay. at/? redir=0