Editorial Introduction 1(2)

Vladimir Zwass
International Journal of Electronic Commerce
Volume 1, Number 2, Winter 1996-97, pp. 1-5.

Developing and introducing into currency electronic cash (e-cash) is considered an essential prerequisite to opening up the consumer segment of electronic commerce. Among the few initiatives that have actually been tested and carry a high probability of wide implementation is Mondex, an e-cash system built around a refillable smart card, which is backed by MasterCard and several major corporations. In the first article in the issue, Eric K. Clemons, David C. Croson, and Bruce W. Weber use backed by MasterCard and several major corporations. In the first article in the issue, Eric K. Clemons, David C. Croson, and Bruce W. Weber use Mondex as a point of departure for a broad analysis of the economic, legal, and regulatory issues engendered by e-cash. The authors analyze such open issues as the consumer and channel acceptance of the stored-value card and of other e-cash instruments, the distribution of the value created by an e-cash system among the channel participants, legal liability for losses due to counterfeiting (whose resolution underpins the present plastic-card systems), and the seigniorage in an e-cash environment. Based on their analysis, the authors offer a perspective on the future of the several important alternatives vying for the mantles of e-cash. In the short term, all of us can look forward to the results of the Mondex test on some 35,000 Hong Kong residents who have recently availed themselves of the card and its facilities.

Electronic commerce, as interpreted in our introductory article in the inaugural issue of this journal, goes well beyond sell-buy transacting over telecommunications networks. One important set of systems support Internet- and intranet-based collaboration. These systems enable groups dispersed in space and time, and, in many cases, among organizations support Internet- and intranet-based collaboration. These systems enable groups dispersed in space and time, and, in many cases, among organizations that may not actually be formally collaborating themselves, to share information, discuss issues, and create common work spaces. In a focused view, such systems are essential to the effective and efficient creation of commercial value in the age of the Internet. Here, Anitesh Barua, Ramnath Chellappa, and Andrew B. Whinston analyze the needs of various groups that would use such collaboratories. Based on this needs analysis, the authors present several collaboratory designs. They are also able to report on the actual user experience with one of the proposed designs.

Two subsequent articles in the issue deal with selling and buying on the World Wide Web. In the first of these, Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa and Peter A. Todd classify, report, and analyze a sample of consumers’ reactions to their shopping experience. Although the received wisdom is that perceived risk stemming from on-line payment constitutes a significant barrier to the development of the Web as a consumer marketplace, Jarvenpaa and Todd’s report indicates that the consumer-oriented sellers should have several more traditional concerns. The merchants’ offerings are often shallow, goal-directed shopping is generally difficult, and customer service is found wanting. In other words, just what you would expect from an immature marketplace_and just the results that the marketers can use to improve their offerings.

In a complementary article, Janis L. Gogan provides a historical perspective on the marketing and selling techniques deployed in both the industrial and the consumer Web marketplaces. Based on the analysis of several Web sites and interviews with the managers of a sample of companies, the author discusses how the specificity of the Web as a medium shapes the marketers’ perception of how they can deliver value to their customers (and to their firms). This article makes clear that much work is necessary to assess and harness the medium’s capability for interactivity and feedback. As the previous article suggests, this is particularly so in the consumer marketplace, which was not enabled by the older, non-Web-based, forms of electronic commerce.

Although (as the recent Russian experience exemplifies) marketplaces can be created in the relative absence of security and of a correlated enforcement of contracts by legal means, such marketplaces are not attractive to most actors in the presence of alternatives. Internet security is often reduced simplistically to the implementation of secure protocols. That such protocols are necessary but not sufficient is forcefully argued by Chris Westland in the concluding article. The author offers a holistic framework for counteracting computer and network crime, a framework heavily oriented toward prevention. By intervening early in the life-cycle of potential crime, the society can develop through its organizations a far more potent means for rechanneling the energies of its potentially deviant members into the activities more beneficial to them_and to all.

This second issue of the International Journal of Electronic Commerce is another demonstration of the richness of our subject matter. It also gives me an opportunity to thank several members of the staff of our publisher, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., for their efforts in bringing the journal to you. The vision of Mike Sharpe and Evelyn Fazio has made the entire project possible. Debra E. Soled and Bessie Blum have helped in many and various ways to start a new journal rapidly_as behooves its subject. We owe the journal’s design, which has received many compliments, to Carmen Chetti and Debra Soled. Suzanne Beuchert has been untiring in her efforts to bring the journal to your attention. My thanks go to all of them_and, as always, to you, the readers, and to the authors, the Editorial Board, and the reviewers, who along with me need to justify this claim on your attention.

Vladimir Zwass Editor-in-Chief