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Q&A: Hurdles to e-Business

Growing A Disruptive Force 

Commerce over the internet has grown in unprecedented ways and magnitude over the past decade. “Hurdles to eBusiness” is a conference sponsored by the Carnegie Bosch Institute of Applied Studies in International Management on Thursday, October 11, 2007, that examines the frictions in this deployment of business over the Internet, by identifying hurdles and solutions. Conference topics include better usability, spam, security, privacy and trust issues.

NOTE: The conference webcast is at mms://  PC users require the Windows Media 9 player or higher to view the webcast. Mac users need the flip4mac Quicktime update.  

Conference organizer R. Ravi, associate dean, Intellectual Strategy at the Tepper School of Business and Carnegie Bosch Professor of Operations Research and Computer Science, discusses his goals for the conference and the impact he like it to have.
Q: What are your goals for the conference?

A: While business over the internet has grown tremendously, and has become a disruptive force in business overall to be reckoned with, it is perhaps not still at its full potential. This conference asks of people at the front line if that is truly the case, and if so, how and why? Think of this as the early days of the stock market when people from the bourses address academia of trends they see in the trading floors and practices and collusions that potentially add friction to the trading process. This is the same for the  Internet business era.

Q: Hosting top researchers from eBay, Google and Yahoo! offers a great opportunity for insights into the current state of on-line commerce. What connects these three presentations?

A: The common theme is to learn about hurdles to doing business on the web and trying to turn those hurdles into problems in a scientific way for investigation. The issues are clickspam (Google), classification and finding items (eBay) and overall frictions in
the web economy (Yahoo). These are areas that are critical for business, and are becoming more important and interesting to researchers in academia. The conference is trying to hasten the transfer of these problems from the frontline to academic research.

Q: How might this conference help the consumer better understand on-line shopping and business managers thinking about or operating in the on-line world?

A: This is probably not too interesting to a casual Internet shopper, except maybe for the eBay talk on long-tail searching. It is more useful to a business user of these  channels, and for those potentially considering use of the auction medium or other features of the big portals such as Yahoo! For the academic audience, they will better understand what kinds of sophistry exists for click fraud and other frictions in ecommerce and hopefully try to find ways of using their expertise to frame and solve problems in these topical areas.


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