Web Assessment: Applied to the Agreement and Settlement Phase

Fachartikel 33

Co Autoren
Dorian Selz


One of the most profound consequences of the ongoing information revolution is its influence on how economic value is created and extracted. The new information infrastructure redefines the relationships between buyer, seller, and middleman, allowing new ways of accessing and tapping information, and price arrangements. Most importantly the information about a product or service may be separated from the product or service itself.

Consider how most books are sold today: most are sold in bookstores all around the country. When Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com set up his online bookstore in Seattle in 1995, he saw an opportunity to change the marketplace. He created a virtual bookstore, holding more than 2.5 mil. titles, about ten times as many as even the biggest bookstore in the physical world. For best-sellers, Amazon charges 40% below list price, for nearly everything else, at least a 10% applies. Result: sales of $16 mil. last year, and a profound impact on the distribution channel of books.

But once someone has shown the way it is easy for competitors to set up their own database and start selling books. To maintain a competitive advantage Amazon relies on customer loyalty that goes beyond the thrill to find the best bargain in the market. It offers its readers a service: information about books (reviews from various sources: authors’ interviews, literature magazines reviews, and readers reviews) .

Amazon is a successful example of a firm taking full advantage of the emerging online marketspace (Sviokla and Rayport, 1994). But most of the early World Wide Web entrance strategies have been rather driven by the inclination of an early adopters’ strategy ”it is participation that counts”, than a sound business model for Electronic Commerce (EC). The hip surrounding the Internet led many to believe of seemingly unlimited opportunities on the Net. Later one found out that the technical hurdles remain high but that the main obstacle remains the lukewarm reception by consumers of the new medium. Thus many companies and institutions discovered with surprise, that their investments in the development of their Web sites did not always guarantee success. But what precisely made Amazon.com more successful than its competitors’?

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