Raymond Pyle, Guest Editor Electronic June 1996/Vol. 39, No. 6 COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM Commerce and the Internet T RADITIONAL electronic commerce through such means as electronic document interchange (EDI), fax communication, symbol technology, bar code and interenterprise messaging and file transfer has been an exciting and growing aspect of information and communication technology for several years. But while development and deployment grew steadily, traditional electronic commerce was never the dynamo that electronic commerce on the Internet, or Internet commerce, is turning out to be. Why the sudden rise of electronic commerce on the Internet? Traditional electronic commerce relied for the most part on value-added networks (VANs) and private messaging networks, both characterized by relatively high costs and limited connectivity. Connectivity on VANs reached only other paying enterprises and relied mostly on store-and-forward methods. While satisfactory for such electronic commerce functions as passing purchase orders and invoices, which can be processed in batch mode from a store-and-forward mailbox, VAN connectivity is too limited for advertising and interactive functions, such as browsing product and service text and graphics. VAN selling points are relatively strong security, reliability, and confirmation of receipt. The value of these performance characteristics for most commercial
Communications of the ACM – Association for Computing Machinery
Published: Jun 1, 1996
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