Conducting business online. Selling goods, in the traditional sense, is possible
to do electronically because of certain software programs that run the main
functions of an e-commerce Web site, including product display, online ordering,
and inventory management. The software resides on a commerce server and works in
conjunction with online payment systems to process payments. Since these servers
and data lines make up the backbone of the Internet, in a broad sense, e-commerce
means doing business over interconnected networks.
The definition of e-commerce includes business activities that are business-to-business
(B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), extended enterprise computing (also known as
"newly emerging value chains"), d-commerce, and m-commerce. E-commerce is a
major factor in the U.S. economy because it assists companies with many levels
of current business transactions, as well as creating new online business
opportunities that are global in nature.
Here are a few examples of e-commerce:
accepting credit cards for commercial online sales
generating online advertising revenue
trading stock in an online brokerage account
driving information through a company via its intranet
driving manufacturing and distribution through a value chain with partners on an
selling to consumers on a pay-per-download basis, through a Web site
Software used to make a site's product catalogue available for online ordering,
whereby visitors may select, view, add/delete, and purchase merchandise.
Payment Gateway (or Gateway):
an application that is resident on a merchant's server (or a server located at
the merchant's isp or csp) that accepts payment information, encrypts it and
routes it across the internet to a [payment services provider].
Visa/MasterCard has published their definition of an electronic commerce transaction to
include "...a transaction conducted over the Internet or other network using a
cardholder access device, such as a personal computer or terminal,"
When a cardholder enters credit card information into a form or shopping cart at
a merchant's website, this is an electronic transaction. The cardholder
initiated the transaction by entering card data and transmitting it to the
merchant over the Internet.
If the cardholder sends an order request and the credit card information to the
merchant in an eMail, this too, is considered an electronic commerce transaction,
as the cardholder initiated the transaction by entering card data and
transmitting it to the merchant over an electronic network.
If a cardholder visits a merchant's website for product information, and does
not transmit an order over the Internet, but instead sends the order to the
merchant by fax [or telephone or mail] this is considered a mail/telephone
transaction because the cardholder did not use a PC or transmit the information
over the Internet.
An electronic commerce merchant receives an order via phone or fax. The merchant enters the transaction information into its system to obtain authorization and to process the transaction. This is a mail/telephone order transaction. The cardholder initiated the transaction via phone or fax.
Pronunciation: dI-'kä-t&-mE also d&-
Inflected Form(s): plural -mies
Etymology: Greek dichotomia, from dichotomos
1 : a division or the process of dividing into two especially mutually exclusive
or contradictory groups or entities
(Merriam-Webster dictionary on-line)
The Rules of the Road:
Since transactions usually contain confidential information, they can not be "read" by non-participants
in the transaction. Hence they must be transmitted using some secure form of encryption
Since transactions usually contain information that is of a critical nature
to the parties to the transaction, they must be precise. Hence, when decrypted into clear text form,
they must strictly conform to some form of "document type definition."