Editor’s Introduction 5(1)

International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 5, Number 1, Fall 2000, pp. 3.

Abstract: With this issue, the International Journal of Electronic Commerce is entering its fifth year of publication. Time has been good to the Journal and, what is far more important, great for its subject matter. In the future, when the span of years will have afforded a proper perspective on the development of e-commerce, informed comparisons will be made with the adoption and exploitation of other revolutionary technologies, such as power generation, railroads, and broadcasting. Yet the excitement is apparent now, for it is apparent that such comparisons have merit.

In the article that introduced the first issue of IJEC in 1996, I heralded the end of the beginning of e-commerce. The Churchillian phrase has been taken up very recently by several writers and conferences. I think, however, that we are now well past this phase. It appears to me that we are witnessing a more advanced stage of development, which I would call embedding. We are past the first flush of excitement, when we believed that a new world, a virtual world, was being created. The virtual is now being embedded in the existing physical world, just as major parts of the physical world are moving into cyberspace. The New Economy is not something separate and apart from the old one. A more inclusive notion, it is a broader economy transformed.

Established corporations are being transformed by the movement of business processes to the Internet and the Web. Supply chains are morphing into supply networks, with the ubiquitous common infrastructure facilitating business-process outsourcing. The same common infrastructure enables kaleidoscopic change in the corporate configuration as new firms emerge to specialize around their core competencies, and are combined into larger aggregates to garner economies of scale, scope, and knowledge. With wireless communications, and with sensors and actuators connected to the Internet, it becomes embedded in our everyday routines. With bar-coding technologies, newspaper and magazine articles in the physical world become linked to Web pages in the virtual world. Click-and-mortar retailers and service providers are becoming formidable competitors for the purely virtual firms. Fiber optic cable, the basic infrastructure of the virtual, is laid along railroad tracks, as a symbol, not just of substitution, but of the new fusion. The video cameras that cater to our voyeuristic instincts over the Web with real-time feeds of other people’s private lives have begun to transform the traditional television networks with real(-but-watched)-life shows from islands and apartments. Embedding will truly change our lives.

As e-commerce becomes the way business is done, and as our personae and our thinking are more and more unwittingly influenced by the Web, the sophistication of e-commerce research grows apace. This Special Issue on formal modeling in electronic commerce, guest-edited by Steven Kimbrough and D.-J. Wu, is a reflection of this. The five papers included in the issue bring formal analysis to the subject of designing, operating, and controlling electronic marketplaces and hierarchies. The papers are more fully introduced by the guest editors.

Of equal interest is the novel approach adopted by Per Pedersen to analyze how the use of shopping agents affects on-line consumer behavior. We know that shopbots have encountered resistance on the part of many vendors. The results presented by Pedersen tell us that the fear is largely unfounded. By parsing the consumer’s decision-making process, he shows how intelligent agents can serve multiple interests. As we enter the fifth year of publication, let me thank our readers, authors, referees, and the members of the editorial board. Together with the board members, the reviewers are the primary guarantors of the Journal’s quality. Here are the IJEC referees, to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude:

Sulin Ba Barbro Back Robert W. Blanning Tung X. Bui Patrick Chau Robert T.H. Chi Roger Chiang Theodore H. Clark Michael J. Davern Georgios I. Doukidis William J. Drake Pat Finnegan Judith Gebauer Janis L. Gogan Paul Gray Alok Gupta Jungpil Hahn Paul Hart Lorin M. Hitt Martin R. Hoogeweegen Qing Hu Ard Huizing Bharat A. Jain P.K. Kannan Melody Y. Kiang Christoph Kuhn Ram Kumar Albert L. Lederer John Ledyard Ho Geun Lee Jungwoo Lee Gregory Madey Karon Meehan Peter Mykytyn Jonathan Palmer Donn B. Parker Kenneth Peffers Roger A. Pick Simpson Poon Gerald Post T.S. Raghunathan K. Ramamurthy H.R. Rao R. Ravichandran Sury Ravindran Frederick J. Riggins Tuomas Sandholm William Spangler Ashok Subramanian Bernard Tan Ron Thompson Hock-Hai Teo Thompson Teo James Y.L. Thong Leon van der Torre Gregory E. Truman Ilkka Tuomi Alfredo Vellido N. Venkatraman Boris S. Verkhovsky Larry West Fons Wijnhoven Jane Kaufman Winn Evangelos Yfantis Lina Zhou

As we have all heard it said somewhere recently, the best is yet to come. VLADIMIR ZWASS Editor-in-Chief