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"Most of the good e-commerce stories follow a familar pattern. A company offers an application that is needed widely, and distributes it for free or at a loss on the Internet." Examples:

  • real audio for sending streaming audio and video
  • pointcast for streaming content
  • winamp/MP3 for digital audio
  • Yahoo as a search engine
  • AOL as a community
  • Shockwave for online gaming
  • Java for Web language
  • Netmeeting for Internet telephony with video
  • Linux for an alternating operating system
  • Amazon for online shopping

analyticalQ book review by Anne Ku

Complete Idiot's Guide to e-Commerce

by Rob Smith, Mark Speaker, Mark Thompson

Copyright 2000, paperback 364 pages, Macmillan Computer Publishing

ISBN 0-7897-2194-5

9 September 2000

Like other Idiot Guides, this book starts from the beginning and tells the history, the evolution of e-commerce and explains the terminology of e-commerce.

Personally, I found the chapter on Internet Marketing Models most relevant. They identify six distinct types.

Affiliate Marketing: partnering with a business to send traffic to your site or bringing together similar organisations to form a critical mass. Best example: Amazon.com

Free knowledge model: not just information as content but also applications, gizmos etc. Generate revenue by advertising traffic. Examples: advisory or consulting sites.

Creative buzz model: what Hollywood stars and their PR firms do. Generate buzz by word of mouth, special promotions, etc.

External drive-in model: drive traffic directly into your site by advertising at special events, sporsoring events that attract your audience.

Repetitive one-hit-wonder model: a way of generating repeat, large volume traffic by changing the content. Examples: news and weather sites.

User group model: web site built around a community of like-minded individuals.

The greatest benefit of e-commerce is its ability to lower your transaction costs to zero.