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Electronic Commerce

Edward Caputo

Many new and exciting business and purchasing opportunities are becoming available due to the phenomenal growth of the Internet and peoples interest to save time and money by purchasing goods via the web. If you think about all the companies that you know that dont use computers for their everyday business than you either are stumped or just thought of one that will soon be forced to evolve or will soon go out of business.  There are very few successful companies that do not use computers in their everyday business activities. There are also few companies do not use some form of e-commerce. Just as an example to hit home this point, the effect of the Internet is so widespread in todays business communities, one online article stated that more than 100000 companies have Internet addresses, and 20000 companies have home pages on the Internet as of February 1999. (DataQuest, 1999). Since the beginning of the 1990s these numbers have quadrupled. Now you might be thinking, Just what exactly is e-commerce?  To most casual Internet surfers, e-commerce means online shopping or simply purchasing Christmas presents via your personal computer and any Internet browser. As we will soon find out this is not exactly the definition of e-commerce but rather on entity of its capabilities.
In Laymans terms, e-commerce is the exchange of business information between two or more organizations. An example of this would be buying and selling products or services over the Internet. After e-commerce proved to be an efficient means to conduct long distance transactions it became very accepted. This paper shall discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce, as well as predicting its potential for the future of business.
Electronic commerce, or e-commerce has developed exponentially in the last few years and has left some in the cold. The majority of people think e-commerce is just about buying and selling things over the Internet like through auctioning sites such as E-Bay and U-Bid.  However, E-commerce is a broad term describing the electronic exchange of business data between two or more organizations' computers. Some examples might be the electronic job applications, on-line services like America online, and on-line billing that automatically pays specified bills each month so you dont have to mail a check.  E-commerce also includes buying and selling any item over the Internet, electronic banking so you can transfer funds between accounts or stocks, smart cards, and all other methods of conducting business over digital networks. The primary technological goal of e-commerce is to integrate businesses, government agencies, and contractors into a single community with the ability to communicate with one another across any computer platform.(Edwards, 1998)
Electronic commerce started 130 plus years ago by telegraph technology.  This is similar to wiring money though an electronic agency for a small fee.  The advent of credit cards as a payment system began the revolution of the automated process of commerce that we are so familiar to today.  The introduction of the ATM card in the mid 80s was one of the most recent improvements to electronic commerce and its capabilities. In 1969 when the Department of Defense began funding the research of computer networking and the idea Internet was conceived. By the 80s the Internet was still in its youth and very few households had access to the Internet, but at very grueling speeds. The Internet, as a means for commerce, did not become reality until the 1990s. Before this time, it was mainly a tool for the army, and a research device for some American universities. When faster more readily available and relatively cheep means of accessing the Internet were introduced, it was only then did people start to realize how they could capitalize on a greater market and also use the Internet for a fast and efficient means to conduct long distance transactions, as well as an effective way to distribute information
Clearly, E-commerce will change the face of business forever. Companies that were one thought too far away to conduct business, can complete business transactions in a matter of seconds as well as exchange information. Dell Computers sells more than $14 million worth of computer equipment a day from