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Through the centuries, technology has changed people’s way of life, playing a main part in developments of the 21st century. There has been a change from the old economy to the new “digital” economy, such as the transition from manufacturing to service, and physical resources to knowledge resources (Human Resources Development, n. d. ). New products and services have changed many aspects of how the world works. Further, innovative kinds of trades and businesses are being available for people to utilize.
One example is the availability of products and services through e-commerce.
The growth of the Internet has caused venturing into e-commerce. Nowadays, the Internet is not only a means of acquiring information and leisure; the Internet has become a medium for business transactions and profit. E-commerce describes how the Internet has become a “global electronic marketplace” (Rodman, n. d. ) where people can sell and purchase items and have them shipped to their locality. There are countless of online shops selling different kinds of products to people who surf the Net.
Perhaps, one of the most popular and successful ventures operating under this system is E-bay.
E-Bay is one of the world’s largest online shopping portals (James, 2006), having generated incomes excess of 10 billion USD last year. The company was established during the dot com era with a unique business model of bringing shops to the homes. Based in the United States, it markets its products globally based on the bidding system and couriers the items to the customers (Hamel, n. d. ). E-bay is one of the companies that led the way for enabling websites to be transformed into business ventures (Epstein, 2004). Advertisements helped in the promotion and eventual purchase of the products of sellers.
The customer has an advantage, as the price of the goods is dependent on the bidding (highest) amount and the excess of shipping costs to be borne (Hamel, n. d. ). The introduction of an online market has brought both advantages and disadvantages in businesses worldwide. These next paragraphs will elaborate on these said pros and cons. Technological innovations were developed and intended to bring a level of convenience, to make people’s lives easier. In this manner, trends that include online companies like E-bay, brought about by technology, share in this cause.
The main advantage of E-bay and e-commerce is convenience. In particular, online companies such as E-bay have saved customers the hassle of going out of their homes to be able to purchase items of use. Because E-bay is accessible through the website, the website has become the endpoint of all the aspects of business. Buyers and sellers can communicate effectively through the website, as electronic communication is one of the fastest forms of communication. According to Rodman (n. d. ), the “Internet is ideal for encouraging customer communications. This helps in knowing more information and feedback from the customer.
According to Huba & McConnell (2003), E-bay is very fervent on this aspect, even creating a “Voice of the Customer” program. Further, all advertisements and promotions concerning the products can be placed and easily updated in the same website. Sellers, and especially buyers, are able to access it in any time of day regardless of the location of the person so there is no worry about distance and time differences (Rodman, n. d. ). All of these contribute to effective and convenient dealings.
E-commerce, which includes E-bay, creates opportunities for many people with talents and skills all over the world (Human Resources Development, n. d. ). Anyone who has something to sell, as long as it condones to the terms that E-bay has created, upon the presence of an interested buyer, can profit from selling his or her item over the Internet. Despite the convenience that E-bay brings, there are also drawbacks that come with the system. Because online markets rely on the Internet, certain weaknesses of the Internet and e-commerce in general, also affect companies such as E-bay.
The main reasons for failures in systems of E-bay include power failure, data corruption, disk failure and network failure (Hamel, n. d. ). These can threaten sales as E-bay has experienced in the past (Huba& McConnell, 2003). There can also be problems with cost. Equipment, as well as the service and technology required to maintain the equipment can be costly. Convenience also has a price as there are certain extra “hidden” costs, (such as shipping, other taxes) that when applicable, must be arranged and paid. The fact that e-commerce has a tendency to be impersonal also has its effects.
Although anyone can sell anything on E-bay, there are certain people who sell things that do not abide by E-bay terms. Moreover, buyers could not easily check if the items that they are selling are of good condition. These impersonal implications can socially have an impact because people would be more inclined to stay at home instead of interacting with others (About e-commerce, n. d. ). If more and more people will resort to online shopping, actual shops may lose returning customers and their business may be affected. Sales personnel may lose their jobs and businesses may close.
Other factors such as challenges in areas of online security and identification that can lead to fraud can contribute to its limitations as well. Because the Internet does not necessarily require face-to-face transactions, many sellers with harmful intentions can take advantage of the certain level of anonymity they have and manipulate the system or mislead and trick customers. Online identification for financial transactions also poses a threat. Computer security is an issue that has been dealt with in e-business such as e-Bay.
To avoid any problems, computer knowledge for understanding hardware and cyber security is of utmost importance for individuals (Hamel, n. d. ). Crimes involving illegal system access and use of computer services are also a concern. Hackers make use of their computer knowledge to gain access to others computers to get valuable information such as access to credit card accounts. Sometimes, files, passwords, programs, or processing power are stolen. An intruder may alter the data or destroy the data making it unusable and useless. A hacker writes a small password snifter that that can steal passwords and gain access to data and files (Hamel, n. . ).
Despite these drawbacks, there are systems that E-bay has implemented in order to safe guard its business and the interests of its customers. Activity of employees can be recorded and this data can be used to monitor employees, such as in estimating the number of breaks an employee takes and the time they use to concentrate on work. There are Antisniff Programs used by E-Bay to detect and block a password snifter and protect the identity so that hackers are prevented and neat trading of goods and bids takes place (Hamel, n. d. ) E-bay also acts on the prevention of unauthorized use as well.
E-bay makes use of data and information for this. Moreover, the use of biometric is of strategic importance in e-Bay. The fingerprint identification has been extended to identify authorized users. Iris and retina scans which use to be part of science fiction movies has now become part of sophisticated identification methods. The latest is use of magnetic card that is checked by a magnetic card reader to allow entry. To address the problems due to natural disasters or technology failure that can cause the hardware to be unusable, E-Bay provides a hot site that has an operational ready to use system.
This is an expensive option, as the system is kept up to date, usually in different seismic zone. A cold site provides the infrastructure but not the processing power and data. In case of a problem, the backup system is made operational (Hamel, n. d. ). E-bay has opened many doors and lifted barriers for buyers and sellers worldwide. E-bay is constantly catering to the needs of their buyers and sellers and with the continual rise of technology and the Internet, more and more people will avail of their service.