Prerequisite courses: Business Studies (given concurrently), Security, Economics and Law
This course aims to give students an outline of the issues involved in
setting up an e-commerce site.
The history of electronic commerce. The growth of the telegraph;
mail order; call centres; EDI; web-based businesses. Network economics:
real and virtual networks, supply-side versus demand-side scale
economies, Metcalfe's law, the dominant firm model, the differentiated
Web site and database design. Stock and price control; credit cards
and other payment mechanisms. Security - SSL; Microsoft Passport;
fulfilment; audit. Help desk and conflict resolution.
The law and electronic commerce. Contract and tort; copyright;
binding actions; liabilities and remedies. Legislation: RIP; Data
Protection; EU Directives on Distance Selling and Electronic Signatures.
Putting it into practice.
Driving and analysing traffic; site design and UI factors; search
engines; dynamic pricing models. Integration with traditional media.
The network marketing problem. Overseas sales. E-mail and SPAM.
Extracting value. Personalisation; localisation; stock and price
control; collaborative filtering. Advertising models. Data mining:
modelling the user. Brand value.
Finance. How business plans are put together. Venture capital;
equity markets; the recent hysteria; maximising shareholder
value. Future trends.
At the end of the course students should know how to apply their
computer science skills to the conduct of e-commerce with some
understanding of the legal, security, commercial, economic, marketing
and infrastructure issues involved.
Shapiro, C. & Varian, H. (1998). Information rules. Harvard
Business School Press.
Standage, T. (1999). The Victorian Internet. Phoenix Press.