E Commerce And Management Information Systems Information Technology Essay


IS 3400 - Management Information Systems

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105008X GAMAGE B.N.


Table of content

what is the E-commerce

History of E Commerce

Differences between traditional commerce and E-commerce.

e –Commerce Main Areas

Privacy and security issues in E-commerce.

Advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce

what is the E-commerce

Electronic commerce can simply defined as doing businesses electronically. Some of the definitions of e-commerce often heard and found in publications and the media are:

Electronic Commerce (EC) is where business transactions take place via

telecommunications networks, especially the Internet.

Electronic commerce describes the buying and selling of products, services,

and information via computer networks including the Internet

Electronic commerce is about doing business electronically

E-commerce, ecommerce, or electronic commerce is defined as the conduct

of a financial transaction by electronic means.

In E Commerce, conducting the exchange of information using a combination of structured messages (EDI), unstructured messages (e-mail), data, databases and database access across the entire range of networking technologies. The sharing of information with business partners leads to cost savings, increased competitiveness, improved customer relations and greater efficiency through the redesign of traditional processes. In the quest to maintain market position or gain competitive advantage by streamlining operations, reducing costs and improving customer service, businesses are increasingly turning to electronic commerce.

It cuts across geographic boundaries and time zones to save time and costs, to open up new market opportunities and enable even the smallest of companies to compete on a globally. Electronic commerce spans established processes such as bar code scanning and electronic data interchange (EDI) as well as newer arrivals, like e-mail, the Internet, the World Wide Web and mobile electronic commerce.

"Electronic commerce covers any form of business or administrative transaction or information exchange that is executed using any information and communication technology (ICT)."  It covers three main areas of activities, which are

Business to business

Business to consumer

Government to nation - that included both businesses and the citizen. 

Electronic commerce does not necessary doing business mainly over the Internet.  It can be doing business electronically without processing over the web, such as (accounting database).

In an effort to further the development of e-commerce, the federal Electronic Signatures Act (2000) established uniform national standards for determining the circumstances under which contracts and notifications in electronic form are legally valid. Legal standards were also specified regarding the use of an electronic signature ("an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record"), but the law did not specify technological standards for implementing the act. The act gave electronic signatures a legal standing similar to that of paper signatures, allowing contracts and other agreements, such as those establishing a loan or brokerage account, to be signed on line.

History of E Commerce

EDI is the electronic transfer of a standardised business transaction between a sender and receiver computer, over some kind of private network or value added network (VAN). Both sides would have to have the same application software and the data would be exchanged in an extremely rigorous format. In sectors such as retail, automotive, defence and heavy manufacturing, EDI was developed to integrate information across larger parts of an organisation’s value chain from design to maintenance so that manufacturers could share information with designers, maintenance and other partners and stakeholders. Before the widespread uptake and commercial use of the Internet, the EDI system was very expensive to run mainly because of the high cost of the private networks. Thus, uptake was limited largely to cash-rich multinational corporations using their financial strength to pressure and persuade (with subsidies)smaller suppliers to implement EDI systems, often at a very high cost. By1996 no more than 50,000 companies in Europe and 44,000 in the USA were using EDI, representing less than 1 per cent of the total number of companies in each of the respective continents. According to Zwass, (the editor-in-chief of International Journal of Electronic Commerce) electronic commerce has been re-defined by the dynamics of the Internet and traditional e-commerce is rapidly moving to the Internet.

With the advent of the Internet, the term e-commerce began to include:

Electronic trading of physical goods and of intangibles such as information.

All the steps involved in trade, such as on-line marketing, ordering payment and support for delivery.

The electronic provision of services such as after sales support or on-line legal advice.

Electronic support for collaboration between companies such as collaborative on-line design and engineering or virtual business consultancy teams

Initially meant the term Ecommerce, process of execution of commercial transactions electronically using leading technologies such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), which allowed users to exchange business information and make electronic transactions. The ability to use these technologies emerged in the late 1970s, allowing businesses and organizations to send commercial documentation electronically.

Although the Internet began to advance in popularity among the general public in 1994, it took approximately four years to develop the security protocols (for example, HTTP) and DSL which allowed rapid access and a persistent connection to the Internet. In 2000 a great number of business companies in the United States and Western Europe represented their services in the World Wide Web. At this time the meaning of the word ecommerce was changed. People began to define the term ecommerce as the process of purchasing of available goods and services over the Internet using secure connections and electronic payment services. Although the dot-com collapse in 2000 led to unfortunate results and many of ecommerce companies disappeared, the "brick and mortar" retailers recognized the advantages of electronic commerce and began to add such capabilities to their web sites

According to all available data, ecommerce sales continued to grow in the next few years and, by the end of 2007, ecommerce sales accounted for 3.4 percent of total sales.


E Commerce has a large number of advantages over "brick and mortar" stores and mail order catalogs. Consumers can easily search through a large database of products and services. They can see actual prices, build an order over several days and email it as a "wish list" hoping that someone will pay for their selected goods. Customers can compare prices with a click of the mouse and buy the selected product at best prices.

Online vendors, in their turn, also get distinct advantages. The web and its search engines provide a way to be found by customers without expensive advertising campaign. Even small online shops can reach global markets. Web technology also allows to track customer preferences and to deliver individually-tailored marketing.

History of e-commerce is unthinkable without Amazon and Ebay, which was one of the first Internet companies to provide electronic transactions. Thanks to their founders we now have a awesome ecommerce sector and enjoy buying and selling the benefits of the Internet. Currently there are 5 largest and most famous worldwide Internet retailers: Amazon, Dell, Staples, Office Depot and Hewlett PackardAccording to statistics, the most popular categories of products sold in the World Wide Web, music, books, computers, office supplies and other consumer electronics.

Differences between traditional commerce and E-commerce.

Traditional Commerce

Simply traditional commerce is buying and selling goods and services face-to-face, or physically. In other words traditional commerce consists of marketing to reach potential customers, getting together with the customer in a place of business, agreeing on a sale, and making the exchange of goods and money.

In traditional commerce marketing techniques used to reach potential customers include mailings, phone calls and advertisements.

E commerce

But E-commerce is buying and selling goods over the internet, and means shopping on the World Wide Web.

Online commerce or e-commerce uses e-marketing to reach potential customers. There are two forms of E-marketing. Those are



Push marketing consists of sending emails, posting online ads on various websites and so on. It is pushing information to the people.

Pull-marketing is having a website where customers seek out information about the products. Social marketing is also used in pull-marketing.

Today because of increased popularity and availability of Internet access, many traditional small businesses are considering E-commerce as a valid and profitable sales channel. However, E-commerce and traditional commerce are different to each other, and it's important to weight carefully the differences between E-commerce and traditional commerce.

Buying and selling methods

When we are talking about E-commerce with traditional commerce, then buying and selling methods are somehow similar to each other. But in E-commerce, orders can be performed online from a website.

So in E-commerce the business' sales department posts a Web site with an online catalog. The buyer then selects items from the online catalog and makes the purchase, either online or by phoning or mail order. A valid credit card is required to make a purchase.

Although the buyer is really using an online catalog, the metaphor of browsing a store with a shopping cart is often used in E-commerce. This allows the customer to put items in the shopping cart to hold until checkout or when the purchase is finally made.

Direct Interaction

Traditional commerce is often based around face to face interaction. The customer has a chance to ask questions and the sales staff can work with them to ensure a satisfactory transaction. Often this gives to sales staff, an opportunity for upselling, or encourage the client to buy a more expensive item or related items, increasing the shop profits. On the other hand, E-Commerce doesn't offer this benefit unless features such as related items or live chats are implemented.

Lower Costs

E-Commerce is usually much cheaper than maintaining a physical store in an equally popular location. Compared with costs such as commercial space rent, opening an online store can be done ,at a very lower cost. This can prove invaluable for small business owners who don't have the start-up capital to rent prime retail space and staff it to be able to sell their goods.


With an online shop owners can do business with anybody living on a country are able and willing to send mail to, unlike traditional commerce, where restricted to people who actually come to the shop. This also opens the door to many other forms of marketing that can be done entirely online, which often results in a much larger volume of sales and even foot traffic to the store. An online store has no capability limits, and business owners can have as many clients as their stock can serve.

Returns Rate

In a traditional store, the customer will be able to touch and check the items, to make sure they are suitable, and even try them on. Therefore it will reduces the number of returned items or complaints due to an item not being as advertised on a catalogue or promotional leaflet. So under E-commerce many customers will just order and try the items at home, and won't hesitate to return them as they can do it by post without having to talk with anybody in person.

Credit Card Fraud

The remote nature of E-Commerce makes much more difficult to detect fraud, which means stores can lose money due to fraud. While traditional commerce is not totally secure, it's easier for a sales attendant to verify that the person buying something is actually the owner of the credit card, by asking for photographic ID. However, the fight against card fraud is well underway and banks and responsible E-Commerce owner’s work together to verify that all card use is legitimate.

Selling online means learning new ways of dealing with customers, marketing products and fulfilling orders, but the benefits are great. Business owners can keep their costs lower, reach a wider audience and do business within whole 24 hours, having time to focus on improving their products and services and their customer experience instead of being on the store floor waiting for clients. Some products sell better online than others: selling jewelry for cash online is much easier than trying to sell houses or cars. However, having an online store can increase the customers on traditional commerce as well, because people are now able to find their products online and see what products they are offering.

Advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce

There are advantages and disadvantages for both the seller and buyer in online commerce.


Advantages for the seller include:

Access to worldwide markets

Minimal marketing and sales costs

Can compete with larger companies

Can track purchases and use data to recommend other items to the customer

Disadvantages to the seller include:

No personal contact

Worldwide competition

Online fraud

Often difficult to get people to know about and visit the site


Advantages for the buyer include:

Can find hard-to-get items from his or her chair

Reduced cost

Automated cost-comparison available

Disadvantages for the buyer include:

Must pay for shipping and wait for delivery

Cannot see or feel the product before making a decision

Cannot easily return item or get support

So E-commerce uses traditional, as well as new marketing methods. Traditional commerce usually consists of an interaction between salesperson and buyer in a place of business. E-commerce is usually done completely online and is impersonal. Therefore we can see that the traditional commerce and E-commerce is not exactly the same thing and there are many different things between them.

e –Commerce Main Areas

E commerce can be broadly categorized into 3 major areas

Business to Business (B2B)

Business to Customer (B2C)

Customer to Customer (C2C)

Business to Business (B2B)

Most people believe that major [part of the e commerce is not selling goods and services to a retail customer but automation transactions of selling goods and services to a Business. there are many transactions happening in supply chain involving sub components or raw materials. In the past years most of the companies used proprietary electronic data interchange systems (EDI). But in recent years they are turning into web based systems.

Ex- in a auto mobile industry there are so many B2B transactions, such as buying tires, glass for windscreens, and rubber hoses for its vehicles.

If a business wants to implement a system that support for e commerce there are three ways.

1. Using a Web server with a toolkit to build its own system.

2. Purchasing a packaged commerce Web server system.

3. Outsourcing the system to an e-commerce service provider.

Business to Customer (B2C)

Although there are many more transactions in B2B. there are only 1 transaction happening on B2C. because B2C happens when it sells the product or service to the end user.

Ex- after completing the production process. That vehicle sold to a customer. That is the B2C.

Types of the B2C

1) direct sellers.

2) online intermediaries.

3) advertising-based models.

4) community-based models.

5) fee-based model.

direct sellers.

Direct sellers can be sub divided into 2 categories E tailers and manufacturers. E trailers ships goods to customers from their ware houses. Ex –amazon.com. Manufacturers also use internet as their sales channel.

online intermediaries.

Online intermediaries does the broker function. Its web site provide so many goods and services to customers and . customers can buy them through their web sites but the goods are not owned by the service.

3) advertising-based models.

It uses high traffic or special web sites to attract more customers by placing advertisements on them. Advertising also a business. this is a traditional marketing concept but now its adopted to web.

community-based models.

The community based model is a hybrid of two advertising approaches. t uses the communities like chat groups and interest groups with specific interests. Thus sites used by computer programmers for exchanging information—or by gardeners trading advice—are good venues for advertising software and hardware product to one group, tools and seeds to another.

Fee based model

Fee based model is based on the value of the thing that they present on the internet. those are are mostly paid subscription services or pay as you go services. for example, by sellers of single articles of which they show parts or a summary as teasers; the former approach is used to sell on-line subscriptions to journals

Customer to Customer (C2C)

Customer to customer provides ways to meet and interact customers with each other. C2C markets provide facilities to customers to sell goods and services to each other. these businesses became more popular with the wide use of internet. companies like ebay and craigslist are pioneers of the C2C market. those sites allow the person to person selling. this facilitates higher searches for buyers and allow sellers to list an item within few seconds as soon as registration completes.most of the times bidding features are used to sell products. a Consumer to Consumer transactions often involve products sold via either a classified or auction-like system. As such, the products and services bought and sold are usually varied in type and have a short development and sale cycle. Products sold may often be used or second-hand, since consumer to consumer sales are often facilitated through auction or classified sites

Privacy and security issues in E-commerce.

Since the invention of the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989, Internet-based electronic commerce has been transformed from a mere idea into reality. Consumers browse through catalogues, searching for best offers, order goods, and pay them electronically. Information services can be subscribed online, and many newspapers and scientific journals are even readable via the Internet. Most financial institutions have some sort of online presence, allowing their customers to access and manage their accounts, make financial transactions, trade stocks, and so forth.

Thus, doing some electronic business on the Internet is already an easy task as well as cheating and snooping is also easy. There are several reasons that contribute to this insecurity such as, The Internet does not offer much security. Eavesdropping and acting under false identity is simple. Stealing data is undetectable in most cases. Popular PC operating systems offer little or no security against virus or other malicious software, which means that users cannot even trust the information displayed on their own screens. At the same time, user awareness for security risks is threateningly low.

E-Commerce has led to a new generation of associated security threats,

Threats for e commerce

There are several threats that badly effect on e-commerce. Due to these reasons business through the internet becomes difficult. But

Access and Connectivity

With the tremendous growth of Internet and e-commerce activities, there is urgent need for access, connectivity and local hosting. In many countries, operational speed and pace of downloads are regarded as slow.

Authentication and Standardization

E-commerce growth in the B2B and B2C segments will be strongly dependent on wide availability of the appropriate security authentication infrastructure, as well as on standards for goods sold over the Net. These would help remove security concerns and boost confidence in e-commerce transactions.

Cyber Laws

The streamlining of cyber laws related to taxation, protection of intellectual property rights and cyber crimes would help cross-border e-commerce. Fraud and morality issues still dominate most people’s fears about the Internet and ecommerce.


E-commerce growth will be centered on new technologies. The use of mobile phones in e-commerce, for example, would extensively depend on WAP authentication protocols. The introduction of WAP mobile phones will widen access to the Internet.

Limitations and Asymmetries of Infrastructure

Although we should be wary of a technology-centered, "field-of-dreams" view of success factors, an appropriate technological infrastructure is necessary for the development of E-commerce. The infrastructure of the Internet, which acts as the current global information infrastructure, has acknowledged problems. The issues turn on the provision of sufficient band width for the surging use that is also moving to multimedia transmissions, and on the problems fostered by the decentralized nature of the Internet.

Technical Attacks

Technical attacks are one of the most challenging types of security compromise an e-commerce provider must face. Perpetrators of technical attacks, and in particular Denial-of-Service attacks, typically target sites or services hosted on high-profile web servers such as banks, credit card payment gateways, large online retailers and popular social networking sites.

Denial of Service Attacks

Denial of Service (DoS) attacks consist of overwhelming a server, a network or a website in order to paralyze its normal activity. Defending against DoS attacks is one of the most challenging security problems on the Internet today. A major difficulty in preventing these attacks is to trace the source of the attack, as they often use incorrect or spoofed IP source addresses to disguise the true origin of the attack.

Symptoms of denial-of-service attacks to include:

Unusually slow network performance

Unavailability of a particular web site

Inability to access any web site

Dramatic increase in the number of spam emails received

DoS attacks can be executed in a number of different ways including:

ICMP Flood (Smurf Attack)

Teardrop Attack


Distributed Denial-of-Service Attacks

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are one of the greatest security fear for IT managers. In a matter of minutes, thousands of vulnerable computers can flood the victim website by choking legitimate traffic. A distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) occurs when multiple compromised systems flood the bandwidth or resources of a targeted system, usually one or more web servers. The most famous DDoS attacks occurred in February 2000 where websites including Yahoo, Buy.com, eBay, Amazon and CNN were attacked and left unreachable for several hours each.

Brute Force Attacks

A brute force attack is a method of defeating a cryptographic scheme by trying a large number of possibilities; for example, a large number of the possible keys in a key space in order to decrypt a message. Brute Force Attacks, although perceived to be low-tech in nature are not a thing of the past. In May 2007 the internet infrastructure in Estonia was crippled by multiple sustained brute force attacks against government and commercial institutions in the country.

Non-Technical Attacks

Phishing Attacks

Phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, by pretending as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Phishing scams generally are carried out by emailing the victim with a ‘fraudulent’ email from what purports to be a legitimate organization requesting sensitive information. When the victim follows the link embedded within the email they are brought to an elaborate and sophisticated duplicate of the legitimate organizations website. Phishing attacks generally target bank customers, online auction sites (such as eBay), online retailers (such as amazon) and services providers (such as PayPal). According to community banker, in more recent times cybercriminals have got more sophisticated in the timing of their attacks with them posing as charities in times of natural disaster.

Social Engineering

Social engineering is the art of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. Social engineering techniques include pretexting (where the fraudster creates an invented scenario to get the victim to divulge information), Interactive voice recording (IVR) or phone phishing (where the fraudster gets the victim to divulge sensitive information over the phone) and baiting with Trojans horses (where the fraudster ‘baits’ the victim to load malware unto a system). Social engineering has become a serious threat to e-commerce security since it is difficult to detect and to combat as it involves ‘human’ factors which cannot be patched akin to hardware or software, albeit staff training and education can somewhat thwart the attack.

Risk of E-commerce

There are several types of risks involving with e-commerce due to its nature and the methodologies that involve with it. Parties who are involving in e-commerce transaction are facing these risks.


Privacy has become a major concern for consumers with the rise of identity theft and impersonation, and any concern for consumers must be treated as a major concern for e-Commerce providers. Both EU and US legislation at both the federal and state levels mandates certain organizations to inform customers about information uses and disclosures. Such disclosures are typically accomplished through privacy policies, both online and offline.

Trust in turn is linked to increased customer loyalty that can be manifested through increased purchases, openness to trying new products, and willingness to participate in programs that use additional personal information. Privacy now forms an integral part of any e-commerce strategy and investment in privacy protection has been shown to increase consumer’s spend, trustworthiness and loyalty.

Data Integrity and Repudiation

Data integrity is the assurance that data transmitted is consistent and correct, that is, it has not been tampered or altered in any way during transmission. But without proper controls, electronic transactions and documents can be easily changed, lost, duplicated and incorrectly processed. These attributes may cause the integrity of electronic transactions and documents to be questioned, causing disputes regarding the terms of a transaction and the related billing. Potential consumers involved in E-Commerce may seek assurance that the company has effective transaction integrity controls and a history of processing its transactions accurately, completely, and promptly, and of appropriately billing its consumers.

Repudiation is the idea that one party can default the transaction once an actual online transaction took place. Proof of data integrity is typically the easiest way to eliminate these problems.

Business Practices

E-Commerce often involves transactions between strangers. However, appearances can be deceiving and several questions arise: How can a consumer know

Whethera company will really carry out its orders for products and services as it claims?

Whether there are product guaranties, or whether the company will allow the return of products?

How a company will use any information submitted by him/her?

With the anonymity of E-Commerce, the unscrupulous can establish (and abandon) electronic identities with relative ease. This makes it crucial that people know that those companies, with which they are doing business, disclose and follow certain business practices. Without such information, and the assurance that the company has a history of following such practices, consumers could face an increased risk of loss, fraud, inconvenience, or unsatisfied expectations.

Payment Systems Security Issues

Credit card is one of the primary means of electronic payment on the WWW. Inspite of that a large percentage of users (20%) reported that they had their credit card stolen, there is still a lot of consumer confidence in credit card mode of payment. Again, this trust should not be betrayed and arrangements should be made to assure those who are reluctant.

Solutions for Threats and Risk of E-Commerce

Digital Signatures

One of the key developments in e-commerce security and one which has led to the widespread growth of e-commerce is the introduction of digital signatures as a means of verification of data integrity and authentication. In 1995, Utah became the first jurisdiction in the world to enact an electronic signature law. An electronic signature may be defined as "any letters, characters, or symbols manifested by electronic or similar means and executed or adopted by a party with the intent to authenticate writing". In order for a digital signature to attain the same legal status as an ink-on-paper signature, asymmetric key cryptology must have been employed in its production. Such a system employs double keys; one key is used to encrypt the message by the sender, and a different, key is used by the recipient to decrypt the message. This is a very good system for electronic transactions, since two stranger-parties, perhaps living far apart, can confirm each other’s identity and thereby reduce the likelihood of fraud in the transaction. Non-repudiation techniques prevent the sender of a message from subsequently denying that they sent the message. Digital Signatures using public-key cryptography and hash functions are the generally accepted means of providing non-repudiation of communications.

Server Logs

Most WWW servers log every access to them. The log usually includes the IP/DNS address, the time of the download, the user's name (if known by user authentication or obtained by the indented protocol), the URL requested, the status of the request, and the size of the data transmitted. Some browsers also provide the client used by the reader, the URL that the client came from, and the user's e-mail address. Revealing any of these data could be potentially damaging to a user. Therefore we can prevent this privacy issue by logging only the type of information about users that the users recommend being logged, the page and the time of its request, and the browser being used. Many users seem to be comfortable with providing demographic information if its intent and application was made clear to them.

Transaction Security

Client/Server and Network Issues In many ways the transaction security of a WWW site can be compromised. There are numerous means for an unsavory individual to snoop into what you are sending or receiving from the other end, including, but not limited to, the following:

Spoofing. The client can trick your server into believing that the request or post that it's sending is from some other site. This is known as IP and/or DNS spoofing. Your server may respond believing that the client is "trusted", when it isn't.

Sniffing. In some cases, it is possible for an unsavory individual to snatch packets as they are being communicated over the network, especially with the newer cellular modems, unsecured phone lines, and so on.

Traffic Analysis. Using sampling techniques on the packets or, more commonly, the server log files, an individual can learn about the nature of the transactions that your site processes. This may be used, for instance, in analyzing the competitive level of your site by a site that provides the same services or products.

In each of these cases, the risk can be alleviated (or greatly reduced). In the cases of spoofing and sniffing, the preferred technique is to use data encryption, or signed data for the transaction. When the receiving end gets what your server sends them, they must have the appropriate key to decrypt and make use of it. In the case of traffic analysis of the data files, assigning the file permissions on the directory, logs, and the files themselves is the preferred technique. The logs themselves can be encrypted for permanent archival. Nowadays, most commercially available servers and their respective clients implement encrypted transactions via some, usually proprietary, means.

In order to gain consumer confidence, nowadays many companies have joined programs to make their privacy administered by third parties and their business practices explicit. Two particularly notable initiatives in that direction are, the WebTrust E-Commerce seal of assurance from the public accounting profession and the TRUSTe "trustmark" program that takes users directly to the privacy statement of a company that has joined a program..


In response to the concerns related to E-Commerce and to increase consumer confidence, the public accounting profession has developed and is promoting this set of principles and criteria for business-to-consumer E-Commerce, referred to as the WebTrustTM Principles and Criteria, and the related WebTrust seal of assurance. Independent and objective certified public accountant (CPA) or chartered accountant (CA), who are specifically licensed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) or Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), can provide assurance services to evaluate and test whether a particular WWW site meets these principles and criteria.

The WebTrust seal of assurance is a symbolic representation of a practitioner's objective report. It also indicates to consumers that they need to click to see practitioner's report. This seal can be displayed on the company's WWW site together with links to the practitioner's report and other relevant information. This seal was developed by AICPA, CICA and VeriSign. VeriSign encryption and authentication technology and practices help assure the consumer that the seal on a WWW site is authentic and the site is entitled to display it:



TRUSTe offers a program that addresses the privacy concerns of consumers and WWW sites. The TRUSTe program enables companies to develop privacy statements that reflect the information gathering and dissemination practices of their site. Its goal is to provide:

Online consumers with control over their personal information.

WWW publishers with a standardized, cost-effective solution for both satisfying the business model of their site and addressing consumers' anxiety over sharing personal information online.

U.S. Government regulators with demonstrable evidence that the industry can successfully self-regulate.

A cornerstone of the program is the TRUSTe "trustmark," an online branded seal that takes users directly to a company's privacy statement:http://atlas.kennesaw.edu/~tnguyen4/truste.gif

The trustmark is awarded only to sites that adhere to TRUSTe's established privacy principles and agree to comply with ongoing TRUSTe oversight and resolution process. The privacy principles embody fair information practices approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Federal Trade Commission, and prominent industry-represented organizations and associations.


W3C's Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P) provides a framework for informed Internet interactions. The goal of P3P is to enable WWW sites to express their privacy practices and users to exercise preferences over those practices. P3P is designed to help users reach agreements with services, such as WWW sites that declare privacy practices and make data requests.

Advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce

There are advantages and disadvantages for both the seller and buyer in online commerce.


Advantages for the seller include:

Access to worldwide markets

Minimal marketing and sales costs

Can compete with larger companies

Can track purchases and use data to recommend other items to the customer

Disadvantages to the seller include:

No personal contact

Worldwide competition

Online fraud

Often difficult to get people to know about and visit the site


Advantages for the buyer include:

Can find hard-to-get items from his or her chair

Reduced cost

Automated cost-comparison available

Disadvantages for the buyer include:

Must pay for shipping and wait for delivery

Cannot see or feel the product before making a decision

Cannot easily return item or get support

So E-commerce uses traditional, as well as new marketing methods. Traditional commerce usually consists of an interaction between salesperson and buyer in a place of business. E-commerce is usually done completely online and is impersonal. Therefore we can see that the traditional commerce and E-commerce is not exactly the same thing and there are many different things between them.