Editor’s Introduction 6(1)

International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 6, Number 1, Fall 2001, pp. 5.

With this issue, the International Journal of Electronic Commerce is entering its sixth year of publication. As is the case with its subject matter, this is an age of some maturity, and of the responsibility that should come with maturity. The low-hanging fruit of e-commerce has been picked, and some of it has proved to be rotten. The tree stands ever taller, however. In the first issue of IJEC, I defined e-commerce as “the sharing of business information, maintaining business relationships, and conducting business transactions by means of telecommunications networks.” I also stressed the importance of including in the subject matter the corporate processes that support business transactions within individual firms. The inclusive definition stands. While those who believed that e-commerce was equivalent to retailing over the Web have been disappointed, those who realized at the outset that transactions are a consummation of long-term relationships and collaboration, and cannot be seen in separation from them, are indeed harvesting. General Electric, Schwab, and eBay are examples of firms different in most respects, including the mixture of mortar with bricks or clicks, yet similar in the crucial aspect: They all consider e-commerce vital to their success. And they succeed with e-commerce.

As our understanding of e-commerce matures, we will increasingly learn how to control the deployment of Web sites, of intranets, and of supply networks. The foundation of control is measurement. Three initial papers here address various measurement issues. The Special Section’s papers, introduced by its guest editors, Stefan Klein and Bob O’Keefe, present a novel method for evaluating and comparing customer perceptions of Web site quality, and show the special care required by e-commerce surveys and similar techniques because of their relative sensitivity. The paper by Paul Alpar, Marcus Porembski, and Sebastian Pickerodt continues the measurement theme. The authors present a novel formal method for gauging the efficiency of Web sites, defined in terms of traffic generation. This is done by defining a productivity model for the sites, with the appropriate inputs and outputs. The technique helps to define the efficient reference sites that can be used for benchmarking. It also leads to general conclusions with respect to site efficiency. The accumulated e-commerce experience shows that Web-site traffic (also known as “eyeballs”) does not lead directly to revenue. Further down the line in the sequence of success determinants is trust, as in consumers trusting e-vendors. Matthew K.O. Lee and Efraim Turban present here a comprehensive model for consumer trust in shopping on the Web. The model generates a number of hypotheses, some of which have been tested. The inclusiveness of the model and the initial tests is highly promising.

Anonymity is sought in such e-commerce applications as e-cash and voting. The technological method deployed to ensure anonymity utilizes blind signatures attached to a cash amount or a vote. These protect the privacy of the sender or spender, and are unforgeable. Chun-I Fan and Wei-Kuei Chen present a blind signature scheme that goes beyond the known algorithms in its ability to hide additional information in the signature. This occurs at the cost of double hashing, but the authors show that this is not excessively burdensome in terms of computational efficiency. The Internet-Web combine plays several vital roles in the contemporary enterprise. One of them is that of the means of visualizing the organizational value chain. Taking this perspective, Hee-Dong Yang, Robert M. Mason, and Abhijit Chaudhury show how achieving the visibility of the value chain can be exploited in organizational learning, as well as in the learning of individuals within an organization. Once again, the work makes apparent the richness of the opportunities in e-commerce. Looking back at five years of publication-a significant milestone in our field-we have thanks to give. The thanks go to our readers, authors, reviewers, and the members of our editorial board. It is particularly important to seize the occasion to thank our referees, as always the principal guarantors of the quality of our papers. Here are the names of our reviewers:

Pervaiz Alam Sulin Ba Barbro Back Robert W. Blanning Patrick Chau Robert T.H. Chi Roger Chiang Theodore H. Clark Qizhi Dai Michael J. Davern Georgios I. Doukidis William J. Drake Pat Finnegan Judith Gebauer Janis L. Gogan Paul Gray Gary Grudnitski Alok Gupta Jungpil Hahn Paul Hart Lorin M. Hitt Martin R. Hoogeweegen Qing Hu Ard Huizing Bharat A. Jain Robert Johnston P.K. Kannan Melody Y. Kiang Gary Klein Christoph Kuhn Ram Kumar Hsiangchu Lai Albert L. Lederer John Ledyard Ho Geun Lee Jungwoo Lee Gregory Madey Karon Meehan Thomas Miller Peter Mykytyn Bob O’Keefe 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 Al Segars Katarina Stanoewska William Spangler Ashok Subramanian Bernard Tan Ron Thompson Hock-Hai Teo Thompson Teo James Y.L. Thong Leon van der Torre Gregory E. Truman Y. Alex Tung Ilkka Tuomi Alfredo Vellido N. Venkatraman Boris S. Verkhovsky Gottfried Vossen Larry West Fons Wijnhoven Jane Kaufman Winn Evangelos Yfantis Lina Zhou

After the first five years, the time will seem to pass faster.