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KEY CONCEPTS IN e-COMMERCE : INTRODUCTION

book cover: key concepts in 
e-commerce

This is not a book on information technology [IT]. It is a book about e-commerce written from a business perspective. Any technical terms are simplified and included only because an understanding of them would be an advantage in a business context. It is, predominantly, a book for students and practitioners of any aspect of business that involves the use of the Internet. If there are any IT practitioners or students who wish to learn about the online business applications of the technology they work with, it is for them too.

The structure of the glossary
Whilst every effort has been made to include all of the key concepts in e-commerce, the phenomenon is that e-commerce is still evolving as a discipline - it being only around a decade old - and it is changing at a pace never before experienced in a business environment. As a result of this a number of significant difficulties arise, namely that:

[a] New concepts will have surfaced since this book was written
[b] Concepts popular at the time of writing lose favour or are superseded, or
[c] Many practices are known by different names - for example, the terms search engine spam, link spam and web spam are all used to describe the same practice.

[Note that the book's web site will feature new terms added since publication].

In other cases, the unregulated nature of the Internet as a medium for communication has caused the origins of definitions become obscured - with various terms being exposed or promoted in the medium itself with no check being necessary to support the validity of comments made in connection to them. This is exemplified by the abbreviation 'RSS'. For the more technically minded it stands for RDF Site Summary or possibly Rich Site Summary. However, when the technology became commonly used it also came to be known by the definition that, for the less technically minded, more closely describes what the technology does - Really Simple Syndication.

For the reasons listed above, the definition or description of some terms may be disputed by some. Such disputes might arise because [a] the author is wrong, or [b] the reader is wrong. More likely, however, is that either the author's or the reader's sources of reference are wrong. Whilst every effort has been made to verify the terms used in this book, the very nature of the way and speed in which e-commerce has developed makes this an in-exact science. An example of such ambiguity is the term URL, standing for uniform resource locator. So common is the mistake of identifying the first word as universal [even in academic papers and texts], that people will argue that universal is correct, citing its use in [incorrect] publications to support their argument.

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