ITGS Syllabus

Friday, January 05, 2007

Topic 192

E-commerce: teleshopping, online marketing, data mining, spyware by Matthew

Electronic commerce, popularly known as e-commerce, is the process of distributing, selling, buying, marketing, and servicing goods and services over electronic systems such as the internet.

E-commerce is a relatively new idea, only being around for about the last thirty years. In the early 1970's e-commerce emerged with the birth of two technologies: Electronic Data Interchange and Electronic Funds Transfer. These technologies allowed companies to exchange commercial documents electronically. In the 1980's the introduction of technologies such as credit cards, automatic teller machines (ATMs), and telephone banking spread e-commerce to new levels. When the internet was made public by the United States military, e-commerce reached unprecedented heights. Advertisements on websites began to pop up, and by 1995, it was ordinary for a company to gain a significant amount of revenue from internet advertisements.

Today, e-commerce is an unavoidable part of our lives. Companies like Amazon and Ebay that have revenues of more than ten billion dollars annually have more than a million customers every year. The amount of sales generated by such websites according to Forrester Research is 12.2 billion dollars.


Teleshopping occurs when a customer telephones a free toll number and orders a product. The majority of teleshopping is stimulated with infomercials (created with the combination of the words 'information' and 'commercial'). Infomercials are television commercials that advertise products. Infomercials are different from ordinary commercials in that infomercials are often times much longer, usually lasting thirty to forty minutes, the average time span of a television program. Another difference is that infomercials tend to have some sort of telephone number which a potential customer could call in order to buy the product advertised.

Online Marketing

Internet marketing is the use of the internet to advertise and sell goods and services. Some common forms of online marketing include banner advertising, pay per click advertising, email marketing, blog marketing, search engine marketing, affiliate marketing, and interactive advertising. Online marketing today is so common that it is estimated that one in three internet users have purchased a product because of online exposure to product information. Although online marketing allows companies to provide consumers with a profuse amount of online ads, excessive internet marketing has resulted in adverse effects such as spamming and annoying pop ups that don't seem to go away.

Data Mining

Data mining (also known as Knowledge-Discovery in Databases, KDD) is the process of systematically searching large volumes of data. Data mining has evolved enormously in recent years with the surge in computer science. Data mining relates to the topic of e-commerce because consumers often search, or 'data mine,' for useful data that could help in their search for the product they are looking for. Today, data mining for product information is most commonly done on the internet using search engines like Google and Yahoo.


Spyware is computer software that collects personal information about users without their informed consent. Spyware is a rather negative result of excessive e-commerce. Personal information is secretly recorded with a variety of techniques, including logging keystrokes, recording Internet web browsing history, and scanning documents on the computer's hard disk. Spyware has led to the creation of an anti-spyware industry.


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