March 1999/Vol. 42, No. 3 COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM Moses Ma, Guest Editor Let systems of Web-based competitive self-interested agents do the negotiating, buying, and selling. O ROBERT CASE Agents in E-commerce ne big lesson about Web-based e-commerce is already clear: Success comes to those who find ways to deliver to consumers orders of magnitude better ways to shop. Amazon.com aggregated book catalogs, delivering on its first day of operation in 1995 instant access to more than a million titles; few physical bookstores stock more than 100,000 titles. Online brokerages, such as E*Trade and eSchwab, have found ways to give full-service securities trading at 10% of the traditional $200 commission. In fact, the current online trading combined worth of about $14 billion in 1997 to $327 billion within five years. Moreover, a study by the World Bank found that 80% of current profitability from products and services on the Internet simply did not exist 12 to 18 months ago. What this means, to those who prefer to see the glass as half full, is that there is still at least $313 billion of opportunity out there most associated with Internet products and services that have not yet
Communications of the ACM – acm
Published: Mar 1, 1999
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