Editor’s Introduction 5(2)

International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 5, Number 2, Winter 2000-2001, pp. 3.

Abstract: Sustainable performance in electronic commerce, as in other business pursuits, is owed not just to clever ideas and the newest technology. Long-term organizational arrangements and a technological infrastructure that lends these arrangements speed, trustworthy operation, and flexibility are necessary for a firm to thrive in any marketplace other than the one for its securities. The Special Issue on Building Relationships in Electronic Commerce analytically highlights several aspects of these arrangements. Stefan Klein, the Guest Editor, introduces its four papers in greater detail. The Internet-Web combine that is the principal vehicle of e-commerce has a protean nature. Among its multiple capabilities, it can serve as a marketplace, a collaboratory, or a universal information-system development platform. Crucially, it is also a medium of surpassing reach and convenience. Numerous efforts have been made to exploit this opportunity directly by offering electronic publications. Yet the presence of such intellectually notable native outlets as Slate.com and Salon.com notwithstanding, offering content for pay on the Web has not become a road to financial success. Perhaps the underlying conscious or unconscious motivation (or the absence thereof) is the sense that “information wants to be free.” Qualified critical opinion, however, is rarely free, and even information, when last heard from, wanted to be paid for. In a highly interesting study of Web-based periodicals as a cultural form, Alan Eisner, Quintus Jett, and Helaine Korn offer empirics and conclusions based on the early developmental stages of this media segment. The authors forecast that established brands going onto the Web will have greater staying power, on average, than purely Web-based media. Should this prove true, it would be yet another example of e-commerce becoming embedded in the existing economy. The New Economy would emerge as the amalgam I wrote about in the introduction to the last issue of the journal. Sridhar Ramaswami, Troy Strader, and Karen Brett present a study of another market segment, on-line financial services. They establish empirically what makes people use electronic channels to acquire or sell securities, buy insurance, or obtain loans. The authors offer specific conclusions of use to marketers and future researchers in the field. Their conclusions about the consumer’s propensity to adopt the new distribution channel in stages is of particular note. The Mondex smart card continues to be a study in failure. Studying quite expensive failures is one way to secure future success. Leo Van Horne offers an analysis of the Mondex pilot launched on Manhattan’s West Side, a venue that was expected to be highly receptive to such a pilot. It proved otherwise. Van Horne analyzes the result in the light of prior trials and within the economic framework partly elaborated in the previous analyses of Mondex published in IJEC. Lessons for marketers result from the cumulating experience.

VLADIMIR ZWASS Editor-in-Chief