Editor’s Introduction 10(4)

Vladimir Zwass
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 10, Number 4, Summer 2006, pp. 5.

Abstract: What drives U.S. firms to deepen and diversify their use of e-business (or e-commerce, as the equivalent term, when used properly)? In a broad study of firms, Pei-Fang Hsu, Kenneth L. Kraemer, and Debora Dunkle combine insights from three innovation-diffusion models to determine the factors of influence. Among the notable results reported here is the pressure of business partners and of the government as a major client. The regulatory posture of the U.S. government, ceding the lead to the private sector, is found helpful in the spread of e-business. When combined, these results point to a virtuous spiral in the penetration of e-commerce into the U.S. business.

The authors of the next paper move us to the infrastructural level of broadband telecommunications services. At present, an extensive overcapacity exists in the United States, and providers are testing a variety of methods to attract customers. New-and flexible-service delivery methods can be supported by new pricing schemes. Offering users an opportunity to pay a low price for regular usage at lower speeds and a higher charge for the burst of high-speed use for a fast download of large files appears attractive. Subhajyoti Bandyopadhyay and Hsing Kenneth Cheng model and study the effects of such a flexible pricing scheme, dubbed liquid pricing. The authors show that the service, attractive to users, would also increase the profit of the service provider. With the proliferation of large new domains of infrastructure use, such as mobile telecommunications and video delivery, the scheme analyzed here has great potential.

Two papers investigate the determinants of customer loyalty in e-tailing. Nelson Massad, Robert Heckman, and Kevin Crowston study the factors making for customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction with electronic service. The relationship approach to customer service is known to yield far better financial results than the purely transactional approach, if only because customer acquisition is expensive. Positive service encounters engender loyalty. Deploying content analysis of the reported incidents in service encounters, the authors identify the aspects of individual transactions with customers that are likely to (dis)satisfy. Based on this research, the authors present a comprehensive taxonomy of (dis)satisfaction factors, certain to be of value in customer-relationship management.

The relationship approach to e-tailing is further investigated by Dahui Li, Glenn J. Browne, and James C. Wetherbe. Using a theoretically grounded survey method of study, the authors surface the properties of e-tailing Web sites that are conducive to building customer loyalty. Two sets of factors, those engendering commitment and those inspiring trust, are parsed and analyzed. In particular, the need to build a relational two-way communication with customers across the Web site boundary is stressed.

Unsolicited commercial e-mail, or spam, is much talked about. Nigel Melville, Aaron Stevens, Robert K. Plice, and Oleg V. Pavlov have undertaken a study of the phenomenon with a view toward doing something about it. Based on their analysis of a huge number of messages over the period of one year on the server level, the authors establish the regularities in spamming behavior. They find that spammers behave strategically. Considering the strategies of the spammers identified in their work, the authors provide suggestions for counter-spamming methods that may be effective in the digital commons.

This volume concludes the first decade of publication for the International Journal of Electronic Commerce, now recognized as the top scholarly journal in its field. This is an excellent time to express my gratitude to our readers and authors, to the global community of e-commerce scholars and practitioners, to the members of our Editorial Board, and to our publication staff. Very special thanks go, as always, to our reviewers, the primary guarantors of the quality of the work published in the Journal. Here are the IJEC referees.