Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

E-Commerce's Growing Pains

Filed under
Web

Grousing from eBay sellers -- and fact that eBay rival Overstock.com brazenly set up in a hotel here and lobbied eBay merchants to use its year-old auction service -- reflects the growing pains and intensifying competition throughout the online shopping industry.

Most of Web commerce turns 10 this year, including eBay, Yahoo and Amazon.com. Both eBay and Amazon launched their first services on the Web in 1995, the same year Yahoo incorporated to make a business out of the directory two college students started in their dorm room the year before. Netscape also held its initial public stock offering in 1995, igniting a frenzy among entrepreneurs eager to commercialize what had long been an academic medium.

The next decade produced a boom and bust that left EBay, Yahoo and Amazon, along with younger rival Google, as the Internet's top survivors. All four have been on a tear over the past year as they rushed to copy one another, roll out new services and buy a string of start-ups. Each is positioning itself to catch the next wave of Web commerce. But first they have to figure out what that will be.

"The exciting thing to me is that while we are 10 years into Internet commerce, it is still hard to predict what the next 10 years will bring," said Scot Wingo, chief executive of ChannelAdvisor Corp., a firm that sells automation software to help Internet merchants sell from eBay, Yahoo, Amazon and elsewhere. "After hardly being known a few years ago, Google is on the scene today, changing the rules on a lot of things."

Today's top players thrived by serving the many online retailers that attracted people to the Internet to browse, buy and research goods. In 2004, online retailing accounted for 4.6 percent of total retail sales in the United States, according to data released by the National Retail Federation's Shop.org subsidiary last month. Typing credit card numbers into remote Web stores has become commonplace, with 69 percent of American households now using the Internet to make purchases, Forrester Research reported last month.

Of the big survivors, eBay's success was the most surprising because programmer Pierre Omidyar started it to test of his ideas about pricing goods online and reviving centuries-old notions about community. Folks scoffed at the AuctionWeb program he put on his Web site on Labor Day 1995, offering just three basic functions -- list, view or bid on items. Although it was profitable almost right away, venture capitalists belittled it as an electronic flea market, and even Jeffrey Skoll, the man who partnered with Omidyar to turn it into a business, initially failed to grasp Omidyar's vision.

"I said, 'Pierre, that's a really dumb idea,' " Skoll said at the convention on Friday.

Since then, eBay has exploded into a worldwide economic and cultural force, with about 60 million active users expected to swap more than $40 billion in goods and services this year. While its revenue is less than half of Amazon's, far more merchandise is traded through eBay's person-to-person trading model; it just isn't booked as revenue because eBay doesn't handle merchandise.

EBay and Google remain the most profitable of the group, but the two companies are regarded differently on Wall Street. At more than $80 billion, Google's market valuation is nearly 80 percent higher than eBay's, more than 50 percent higher than Yahoo's and more than five times Amazon's.

"The Internet is changing. It's becoming even more mainstream, and we want to evolve with you however you see fit," eBay chief executive Meg Whitman told nearly 10,000 users packed into an arena.

That need to evolve is causing a flurry of activity among the big Internet commerce competitors, as they cross into each others' territories to add services to woo more consumers.

Amazon not only invites merchants to sell on its site and charges a commission, but it also recently rolled out a trial local Yellow Pages service and a Web search service that people can customize.

Google bought blogging software, photo-organizing software and a satellite-mapping firm -- and moved into shopping by creating a product-comparison service called Froogle. Just this week, Google confirmed it is developing an online payment service that could compete with eBay's electronic money offering, PayPal.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

OSS Leftovers

  • Nextcloud 12 Officially Released, Adds New Architecture for Massive Scalability
    Nextcloud informs Softpedia today about the official availability of the final release of Nextcloud 12, a major milestone of the self-hosting cloud server technology that introduces numerous new features and improvements. The biggest new feature of the Nextcloud 12 release appears to be the introduction of a new architecture for massive scalability, called Global Scale, which is a next-generation open-source technology for syncing and sharing files. Global Scale increases scalability from tens of thousands of users to hundreds of millions on a single instance, while helping universities and other institutions significantly reduce the costs of their existing large installations.
  • ReactOS 0.4.5 Open-Source Windows-Compatible OS Launches with Many Improvements
    ReactOS 0.4.5 is a maintenance update that adds numerous changes and improvements over the previous point release. The kernel has been updated in this version to improve the FreeLoader and UEFI booting, as well as the Plug and Play modules, adding support for more computers to boot ReactOS without issues.
  • Sprint Debuts Open Source NFV/SDN Platform Developed with Intel Labs
    AT&T has been the headliner in the carrier race to software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV). But Sprint is putting its own stamp on the space this week with its debut of a new open source SDN/NFV mobile core solution.
  • Google’s New Home for All Things Open Source Runs Deep
    Google is not only one of the biggest contributors to the open source community but also has a strong track record of delivering open source tools and platforms that give birth to robust technology ecosystems. Just witness the momentum that Android and Kubernetes now have. Recently, Google launched a new home for its open source projects, processes, and initiatives. The site runs deep and has several avenues worth investigating. Here is a tour and some highlights worth noting.
  • Making your first open source contribution
  • Simplify expense reports with Smart Receipts
    The app is called Smart Receipts, it's licensed AGPL 3.0, and the source code is available on GitHub for Android and iOS.
  • How the TensorFlow team handles open source support
    Open-sourcing is more than throwing code over the wall and hoping somebody uses it. I knew this in theory, but being part of the TensorFlow team at Google has opened my eyes to how many different elements you need to build a community around a piece of software.
  • IRC for the 21st Century: Introducing Riot
    Internet relay chat (IRC) is one of the oldest chat protocols around and still popular in many open source communities. IRC's best strengths are as a decentralized and open communication method, making it easy for anyone to participate by running a network of their own. There are also a variety of clients and bots available for IRC.

Tizen News: Phones and TVs

  • Tizen 3.0-powered Samsung Z4 now available with offline retailers in india
    The Samsung Z4, the fourth smartphone in Samsung’s Z series and a successor to the Z2 (and not the Z3, as many would assume), has been formally announced and made an appearance at the Tizen Developer Conference (TDC 2017) this past week. The Z4 was rumoured to make its way to India on May 19th (Friday) and it did – arriving with offline retailers after launching in the country last Monday (one week ago).
  • Samsung 2017 QLED TVs World First to support autocalibration for HDR
  • Samsung approves You.i TV video platform for Tizen TV app development
    While Samsung has developed Tizen TV apps using JavaScript, You.i TV’s Engine Video app runs on Native Client (NACL), a web technology that does not only allows C++ applications to run in a standard browser but is said to be 24 times faster than JavaScript. Now that Samsung has approved You.i TV’s video engine platform, developers can craft more video content for Tizen Smart TV owners.
  • Samsung Smart TV gets a new Glympse app that enables location sharing on the TV
    Samsung Smart TV, powered by the intuitive, self-developed Tizen operating system, has gotten a cool new app which enables consumers to view the location of their friends, loved ones or even a pizza delivery or cable technician in real-time directly from their home’s largest screen. The new app is developed by Glympse, the leading real-time location services platform.

How To Encrypt DNS Traffic In Linux Using DNSCrypt

​Dnscrypt is a protocol that is used to improve DNS security by authenticating communications between a DNS client and a DNS resolver. DNSCrypt prevents DNS spoofing. It uses cryptographic signatures to verify that responses originate from the chosen DNS resolver and haven’t been tampered with. DNSCrypt is available for multi-platforms including Windows, MacOS, Unix, Android, iOS, Linux and even routers. Read
more

Debian-Based Untangle 13.0 Linux Firewall Tackles Bufferbloat, Adds New Features

Untangle NG Firewall, the open-source and powerful Debian-based network security platform featuring pluggable modules for network apps, has been updated to version 13.0, a major release adding new features and numerous improvements. The biggest improvement brought by the Untangle NG Firewall 13.0 release is to the poor latency generated by excess buffering in networking equipment, called bufferbloat, by supporting a queueing algorithm designed to optimize QoS and bandwidth to enforce a controlled delay. Read more