Electronic Commerce

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Electronic Commerce

As the internet grows in popularity every day, so too does electronic commerce.   Electronic commerce, simply put, is the exchange of money for goods and services via electronic means.  In other words, electronic commerce is usually when you purchase something off of the internet.  Electronic commerce is often referred to as e-commerce, or e-business.  In this paper I will be discussing the technical side of e-commerce, security, different points of view regarding e-business, and of course my personal opinion and experiences.

Background Information:
First I would like to discuss the types of e-business.  E-business can be anything from purchasing a toaster from a department store online to checking your bank statement online.  All are examples of the many aspects of e-business.  
There are several aspects of e-business unique to it.  When comparing traditional business to e-business, one can see several differences between the two.  The most obvious difference when buying standard goods (such as a toaster, a book, or a new computer) is the store.  When dealing with e-business there is no "real" store or merchandise to look at.  It is all presented through the merchant's webpage, or by other electronic means.  You will not be able to touch, or inspect potential purchases.  All you will have to go on is perhaps a picture and a brief description of the item in question.  This is obviously a big change from traditional store-based business practices.  Why would any self-respecting consumer buy something via e-business if they were unable to touch, or inspect a potential purchase, and there is a real store just done the street?  There are several reasons why e-business is appealing to a growing amount of people.  For example, e-business is based on the internet.  If you are using the internet, you are not bound by geography.  You can access any site, anywhere in the world from the comfort of your computer chair.  What does this mean to the consumer?  Now the consumer has access to several things they didn't before.  The consumer now has diversity.  With the entire internet at your fingers, in a matter of minutes you can browse several stores in several parts of the world without even leaving your home.  This allows you to compare prices and products.  With e-business you are not restricted to the prices and products of you local stores.  You can easily choose the best price on the best product.
Purchasing goods electronically is becoming easier by the day.  The majority of e-businesses have software set up on their webpage to take and record your order as well as your credit card and personal information.  The software is set up such that you can order anything you want without having to interact with anyone what so ever.  You just have to enter your credit card number, address, and other personal information. Some people are not comfortable with the concept of sending their credit card number or other personal to a potential merchant over the internet, but are more comfortable using the telephone.  Most businesses know this and have set up a special number or other means to talk to a representative from the company to settle any questions, and to accept credit card numbers or other means of payment.  There are of course several security issues involved in both forms of commerce. I will discuss security in greater detail later in the paper.
The popularity of e-business is growing almost as fast as the technology itself.  More and more people are using their computers to buy what ever they want, whenever they want.  Every day there is an increasing number of companies that join the electronic world of business.  Companies spend millions of dollars a year to setup and maintain a website designed for e-business.  Why are they willing to spend so much?  Most business people have a good knowledge of how and why business works.  It is not hard to see that there is a huge market in e-business.   With the price of computers going down each day, more and more people have the opportunity to get in on their piece of cyberspace.  

A Typical E-business Transaction & Security Information:
A few methods in which e-business is conducted are shopping, and online banking.  Let's