Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2001, MCB UP Limited
To know them is to link them
To know them is to link them
Cross-linking business sites has long been recognized as an important element in driving traffic, and is the foundation upon which first-generation web advertising has been built – but how effective is it really? Can those effects be measured? At what stage do external links become a liability driving traffic away from a site? How do explicit links and other link-enabled screen elements, affect the flow of a user's Internet session? These are but a few of the questions dealt with from two different perspective in Rettie's article "An exploration of flow during Internet use" and Thelwall's paper on "Commercial Web site links". While the latter explores the importance of external links in reaching specific site goals, the former finds that the proper flow of an Internet session can be the single most important factor in user satisfaction and site stickiness.
Two analyses of Internet demographics are presented in this issue of Internet Research. Karuppan, in "Web-based teaching materials: a user's profile", focuses on the user profile of academic on-line course participants. The use and acceptance of on-line learning materials at levels ranging from kindergarten to university continues to grow at a tremendous pace. In parallel, we are seeing both research and commercial efforts at developing personalization engines for e-commerce. It seems a rather simple leap to move commerce and content personalization to learning environment personalization based on a common body of course material that can be focused depending on the users' profile, including pedagogical strengths, and weaknesses. But to do that, we first need to better understand the profiles of our on-line learners and Karuppan's work takes a big step forward in that direction. The second demographic piece in this issue focuses on the broader picture of Internet usage and multiple Internet activities. Teo, in "Demographic and motivation variables associated with Internet usage activities", takes us a step beyond simple demographic analysis and provides a look into the motivation of Internet users.
Traditional demographics have always been important in understanding usage patterns and improving user or customer experiences. Going beyond traditional demographic analysis, Goldsmith's Domain Specific Innovativeness Scale has been applied to the measurement of consumer innovation in markets ranging from consumer service, to wine purchasing, to vacation selection, in both domestic (US) and international markets. In "Using the Domain Specific Innovativeness Scale to identify innovative Internet consumers", Goldsmith extends his work to the Internet space. The identification of potential innovative consumers in specific target markets takes on an even greater importance when the target market spans the Internet. The application of established consumer theory to the Internet is a major step forward in solidifying our understanding of the vast potential of the Internet as a commercial channel.
The auction business shot from obscurity to omnipresence with the advent of Internet commerce. Auctions, as a form of multi-buyer price negotiation, have been around for centuries if not millennia. The main business barrier to effective auctions in the past has been to get all the interested bidders into the same room, corral, or marketplace to conduct the auction. Moving the auction model to the Internet has allowed vendors to take advantage of a global pool of bidders. With that move, however, has emerged a host of fairness issues related to the conduct of such auctions in which the bidders or bidder-representatives are no longer subject to some form of scrutiny by the auctioneer and other bidders. Liao and Hwang present "A trustworthy Internet auction model with verifiable fairness" to address these significant issues. Beginning with an analysis of the fairness and verification issues, Liao and Hwang present a model and algorithm for implementing Internet auctions.
The case study presented in this issue is Angeles' paper "Creating a digital marketspace presence: lessons in extranet implementation". Working closely with the management of VF Playwear's Healthtex subsidiary, Angeles was able to get to the heart of B2B implementation issues for the trading partners of one of the world's leading textile manufacturers.
David G. Schwartz