E-commerce is a relatively new invention as far as commerce is concerned and therefore has not completely stabilized. There is a vast amount that people do not know about e-commerce; it’s possibilities and it’s risks. There are also a large number of people that do not know about e-commerce at all.
The internet has grown by 215% in the last 7 years and even this growth through out the world encompasses only 17% of the total population.[Int] Considering the figures from [Int] the opportunity for e-commerce is astounding and at the same time the risks and destabilization factors are just as great.
Simply because we can cite a couple of companies that have survived the .com bust and prospered such as Yahoo, Google, and Amazon.com, we cannot say that e-commerce has stabilized. There is no way of knowing whether it has stabilized or not.
[Lev99] illustrates that it was the human interaction that drove the rise of civilization and eventually the internet and it is this very same force that will keep e-commerce from stabilizing completely. Some businesses will never be able to transfer all operation to e-commerce simply because of the human interaction factor that humans desire. You can send an email, but it will never be as effective as a phone conversation; while a video conference will never replace throwing back a few cold ones during a business deal. As long as every business is not able to completely operate on the internet without the bricks, e-commerce cannot be considered to be a stable operating medium for a business.
Nevertheless, e-commerce is essential for the success of modern businesses because of the pervasiveness of technology and the current drive toward automation. The internet enables e-commerce to span the globe and to give companies reach into corners of the world where access was impossible previously. To leave out e-commerce form a business model could be a devastating mistake.
E-commerce security also has a long way to go before it stabilizes. Firewalls and even biometrics can be defeated with clever exploits and social engineering opening the way for significant destabilization within e-commerce. There is nothing in ecommerce resembling the vault at Ft. Knox. Even NSA computers have been hacked and White House websites defaced. Until security on the internet is stabilized e-commerce can hardly be said to have stabilized.
[Int] internet World Stats
[Lev99]Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger, “the cluetrain manifesto”, 1999,
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