Archive for the 'E-commerce' Category

Amazon aStore

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Amazon is now offering a method to Amazon Associates allowing one to build a standalone store that one can embed or link to rather than just embedding individual Amazon items on a Web page. This concept is called Amazon aStore. It’s still in beta, but here’s the Amazon’s aStore beta demo.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Amazon Associate concept, here’s a blogger’s eye view of it.

Sunday morning Web 2.0 review

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

Yet another Web 2.0 aggregation post

-First find of the week is Seth Godin’s Web 2.0 Traffic Watch List which predictably enough, tracks traffic trends of Web 2.0 sites. Upon reviewing the list, some of the sites I’ve heard of and even use, but there’s plenty more that I had no idea existed. I’m sure this list will keep me busy for a while.

-Second, is Crowdstorm, which bills itself as a social shopping site - much like Amazon’s user recommendations and ratings. It’s in beta and I received an invite to join. The two hurdles that Crowdstorm needs to overcome is that a)obviously, it needs more users to be effective and b)it seems to be UK oriented at the moment (note the kelkoo reference) so I am not sure if it’s intended for a US audience. The Crowdstorm admins may want to tag their site with “The best UK social shopping” or whatever they prefer.

One other item of note, I like the crowdstorm site design - they could actually go a little wider on the body of site. Perhaps make the thumbnails a little larger and the text bigger - although I’m wondering if they are trying to allow for mobile device viewing. And for the cool factor, their markup is XHTML Strict - even using PNGs for the images.

[tags]Web 2.0, Web 2.0 traffic, alexadex, crowdstorm[/tags]

Froogle failure to find fortuitous fortune

Saturday, August 12th, 2006

I orginally wrote this as a comment on a TechCrunch post, but realized that there were a few more things I wanted to riff about.

If you didn’t realize it, Google removed the Froogle link from their front page and replaced it with Google Video. While some people are making a big deal of it, I really think this move is related to the YouTube phenomenon and also the fact that most product searches start at the search engine and not necessarily at a supposed shopping search engine.

Three points to consider:

1)Froogle listings are still showing up at the top of SERPS. Panasonic Video Camera, Scandinavian Office Chair, and half carat diamond ring. (I have expensive tastes.) I don’t know if this matters, but I was logged into Google when I saw these results.

2)If you’re a retailer and you are listed in Froogle, then you will see referrers from Froogle, as long as your price point is a)reasonable and b)reasonably low. In my experience, despite the Froogle listings, I still have seen many, many more referrers from Google’s natural search than Froogle. As any online retailer knows, competing on price point alone is an [expletive deleted].

3)Natural search still rules product referrers. Wasn’t Battelle who said that 60% of all e-commerce transactions start at the search engine?

Over the past year and half or so, I’ve thought that Google was going to push retailers and such from natural search to paid Froogle inclusion or Google Base or Google AdWords, now with Froogle getting off of the front page links, I’m wondering if this isn’t Google tacitly acknowledging that there’s much more e-commerce traffic in natural search. And if there’s traffic in natural search then shouldn’t Google’s corporate push be towards Google AdWords and Google Base, not to mention Google Checkout?

Also, pertaining to Google products in trouble, is it just me or am I just not seeing result for products in Google Base in Google SERPS?

How e-commerce will be affected by IE 7

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

Something interesting I learned today, IE 7 is going to have this capability to show whether a site has what is called a “high assurance SSL certificate”. If the site has the high assurance SSL certificate, then the address bar is green, if the certificate lookup doesn’t complete or totally fails, then the address bar changes color. Here’s a few screenshots and yes, other browsers are going to adopt similar behaviors.

This new development is going to screw those who self sign SSL certs on their Web sites. Also, you’re going to have to make sure that the registrar you use is a Certificate Authority (like these guys) who adhere to the official High Assurance Standard as yet to be determined from the CA Browser forum. (Side note: Am I missing something? Why can’t I find a CA Browser Forum Web site?)

Related: Seeking A Safer Internet

quickie ecommerce stat

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

A quickie ecommerce stat from Marketing Sherpa…44.9% of e-commerce sites saw a 20% increase in order levels in 2005, the rest had a lower growth rate (36.6%) or were flat (12.3%) or were down (5.9%). [Page 3 of pdf].

ecommerce update 4/24/06

Monday, April 24th, 2006

Two things about e-commerce related items.

First, I will show my bias and announce that I love, just love the design of Clean, simple design that evokes their brand.

Secondly, the New York Times had an article about a new shopping search engine cum wiki powered review site called ShopWiki. ShopWiki is in beta (good grief their crawler has been around for at least the last 6 months) and the idea is that users will posts reviews of products, it is these reviews in addition to the usual shopping comparision site features which is supposed to make this site unique.

Third, I think I may have mentioned this site before, but here’s roosster, a site that aggregates a number of RSS categories, including shopping deals announced via RSS. Roosster deals RSS feeds

ebay featuring custom RSS search feeds

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

Via a posting on WebmasterWorld, ebay is featuring custom RSS search feeds. So, in theory, you’ll be able to track listings on ebay via RSS.

A poster on WebmasterWorld pointed out that this new feed functionality will probably encourage more “made for AdSense” sites, presumably since RSS is easier to display on a Web page than a full blown API. However, you would think that ebay would have some sort of non-commercial TOS tied to the RSS feed.

I’m wondering if this development from ebay will encourage other online retailers to feature RSS product feeds for individual use.

Tracking travel deals with RSS

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

Today’s Sunday NY Times has an article on tracking travel deals via RSS, rather than relying on promotional email newsletters.

While not all sites allow you to track specific fares to destinations, the idea of even tracking promos via RSS is pretty neat. The article explains in simple detail how to aggregate RSS feeds via a customized My Yahoo page.

RSS is slowly becoming more useful to the consumer - it’s not just for “news articles” anymore.

e-commerce and rss

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

Why don’t more e-commerce sites use RSS? A few have beta feeds, but it doesn’t seem widespread.

e-commerce schadenfreude

Saturday, May 28th, 2005

Passing by the Barnes & Noble fulfillment center in New Jersey always makes me giggle…in that e-commerce schadenfreude kind of way…

Barnes & Noble can't fix their sign

Bids sought for Net sales tax systems

Saturday, January 29th, 2005

From The Washington Post

State governments working on a national Internet sales tax system are moving ahead with plans to create the data infrastructure that they and retailers will need to manage the collection of taxes on most e-commerce transactions.

Working together under the auspices of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, 40 states and the District of Columbia have issued two requests for bids from technology companies to design the software and Web-based networks to track millions of online purchases and process the appropriate sales tax payments.

A request issued by the states last Friday seeks bids to build a registration system where all Internet retailers — ranging from giants like to smaller companies — would go to declare their intent to collect and remit taxes on online sales made to customers in the project’s participating states.

The second request, issued last November, is aimed at making it easier for online retailers to collect sales taxes. The states plan to award contracts to multiple vendors who would provide sales tax collection systems to online retailers. As currently envisioned by the states, Web merchants would pay nothing for the services. Instead, the vendors would take a small cut from the revenues.

To date, 19 states — including Florida, Michigan and Texas — have modified their sales tax codes to make it easier for retailers to collect taxes on Internet sales. By October 2005, the states hope to have a voluntary collection system working in at least 15 states representing roughly one-fourth of the U.S. population. With that in place, they hope, Congress would be more likely to endorse a mandatory, national Internet sales tax system.

The Streamlined Sales Tax Project home page is Here is a list of participating states.

From someone whose day job is all about e-commerce, all I have to say is “Ugh.” You have to love the bit in the article about how this consortium is hoping to get a mandatory Internet sales tax imposed by Congress, once proof of concept for this sales tax system is implemented.

I’m guessing that the “system” that is being designed will be similar to how USPS/UPS/FedEx shipping tables are implemented for popular e-commerce shopping cart systems. In other words, the state and local sales tax tables will be updated every year and if you run your own shopping cart system, you’ll have to update the module provided by whatever vendor this sales tax group approves.

However, what I think is most interesting about this sales tax push is the fact that this consortium is pushing to collect sales tax based on the customer’s residency, not where the retailer (or the retailer’s servers) is located. Basically, this group is trying to enforce the idea that the transaction occurs where the customer is physically located. This is interesting as other parts of Internet law has been based upon where the servers are (i.e. AOL winning judgements against spammers because of Virginia laws being broken or the French decision against Yahoo).

e-Commerce turns 10

Friday, August 13th, 2004


Few remember or have ever even heard of the Web retailer, but on Aug. 11, 1994, the college grads that founded NetMarket in Nashua, N.H., claimed they had conducted the very first secure retail transaction on the Web.

They said the first item purchased via a Web site protected by commercially available data encryption technology was the CD “Ten Summoner’s Tales” by Sting, according to former NetMarket founder Daniel Kohn.

Web retailing began to flourish the following year, when Netscape (now a division of Time Warner) came out with a version of its Web browser that incorporated the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security protocol, Kohn said. SSL creates a connection between a desktop computer, or client, and a server, over which data can be sent securely. The most recognizable sign of SSL at work are Web addresses that begin with “https:” rather than the more familiar “http:” designation.

While 10 years of fine-tuning the technology have made e-commerce easier, data security remains a concern for online shoppers and merchants. Though SSL is nearly impossible to break, hackers have found other ways to attack, using computer viruses, “phishing” and other tricks.

Despite the threats, most people are more comfortable than ever with shopping online, said Darin Sennett, director of design and technology, at Powell’s City of Books. The Portland, Oregon, book store has been taking orders online for nearly 10 years and has been largely unaffected by such attacks, he said.