Networking Metaphors for E-Commerce

Erik Wilde, Andreas Steiner

Erik Wilde, Andreas Steiner, Networking Metaphors for E-Commerce, Computer Engineering and Networks Laboratory, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland, TIK Report 190, February 2004.

E-commerce technologies have reached a level of maturity where many businesses are no longer hampered by technological limitations. However, the adoption of e-commerce technologies is slower than anticipated. We argue one of the limitations is a psychological barrier, which is created by the perception that e-commerce technologies are a whole new set of technologies which are completely different from computer networking. By applying metaphors from basic networking technologies (such as bridges and routers), we try to (1) demonstrate that e-commerce technologies are — in many ways — comparable to computer networking, and (2) show that convincing businesses to adopt e-commerce technologies could be made easier by showing them that e-commerce is basically computer networking taken to another level. We also believe that using these metaphors will make it easier to talk about e-commerce technologies, to reuse existing knowledge about networking architectures on this new level, and to identify the areas where additional work needs to be done.


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