Corrections or additions?
These stories by Phyllis Maguire and Barbara Fox were published in
U.S. 1 Newspaper on May 27, 1998. All rights reserved.
Last year online sales topped $2 billion, and while
some experts expect that figure to double in 1998, others think it
just might triple. Although only 7 percent of the American population
has purchased items online, the Internet is transforming the ways
in which we shop. Here is the conclusion reached in "Internet
Shopping: An Ernst & Young Report," a survey of more than 850
consumers and 150 retailers and manufacturers
"Slowly but surely, the Internet is changing consumer shopping
So who IS buying online? According to the report, he — and it
is a "he" 68 percent of the time — is well-educated, with
26 percent of online purchasers holding post graduate degrees. He
is well-paid; over half earn between $50,000 and $100,000. And he
is middle-aged: 64 percent of online buyers are between the ages of
40 and 64, an avid moviegoer who enjoys gardening, travel, and gourmet
cooking. He uses the Internet to purchase computer-related products
(they account for 40 percent of all online sales), books, travel
clothing, music, subscriptions, and investments.
He appreciates the Internet for its convenience, and is more likely
than average consumers to shop in nontraditional channels, via mail
order or telephone. And although he is likely to buy only two to four
online items every year, he has helped transform the Web into a
retail tool. Two-thirds of surveyed consumers use the Web to research
products they go on to buy in retail stores; almost half do product
research on the Web before ordering an item by telephone or fax, while
32 percent combine Web research with an online buy.
The decisive factor in sealing a sale? It’s name recognition:
name and retailer familiarity exert the most impact on Web buying
Here are some Ernst & Young E-commerce tips:
apparel and magazine subscriptions.
online research is such a powerful incentive to in-store sales,
sites to aid research and emphasize product value."
sites, and chat rooms.
According to "Internet Shopping," 68 percent
of people who do NOT buy online are leery of putting their credit
card information out over the Web. The Internet marketing bonanza
has business practices and legal protocols scurrying to catch up to
Richard L. Ravin, a partner with the Roseland law firm of Ravin,
Sarasohn, Cook, Baumgarten, Tisch & Rosen, is the publisher of the
"Internet Business Law Alert." He outlines four hurdles that
must be overcome before E-commerce will match its explosive potential:
unreliable, cobbled as they are from a snarl of LAN lines, phone
and tiers of glitch-filled, crash-prone servers. Until the
becomes more direct and foolproof, Ravin says, "people can’t rely
on the Internet as a major delivery route for products."
transactions. While California and Utah have laws recognizing
signatures, the business communities in most states still are in a
no-man’s land with digital contracts. The state of the art in digital
signatures is asymmetrical encryption, a software program that
both a public key to send an encrypted message and a private key to
decode it. Says Ravin: "The technology is there, but it needs
to be standardized and universal."
some way of authenticating that messages have been sent and received
— and someone to serve as a depository for electronic documents.
"You can negotiate a contract back and forth, but if there is
no third party with whom the document gets filed, what’s to stop
from tampering with your final draft? Without digital signatures and
cyber notaries, courts will not enforce electronic contracts."
and credit card companies are now hammering out Secured Electronic
Transaction (SET) protocols and Electronic Negotiable Instruments
to permit funds to be wired directly.
While these wrinkles are getting ironed out, online merchants must
navigate a brave new world of established laws with startling new
applications. Intellectual property laws, governing trademarks, trade
secrets, patents, and copyrights, are in play; constitutional issues
of privacy and freedom of the press are raised; and commercial and
contract laws concerning enforceability are crucial, as is tort law
on defamation and misappropriation of business assets. Ravin’s
for posting an online site:
to specifically address issues of site ownership and licensing.
develop a trademark only to find that you’re infringing on someone
"need to know."
the year 2000. "Businesses are expecting the Microsofts of the
world to come up with a magic bullet that can be fired into computer
systems, but experts say that solution isn’t forthcoming." To
receive a copy of "Internet Business Law Alert," call
or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Phyllis Maguire
If this issue of U.S. 1 doesn’t quench your thirst for
the Internet and related matters, then head Thursday, June 4, to the
"New Jersey Works the Web" trade show, networking party, and
seminar event from 3 to 9 p.m. at the PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel.
Billed as a three-ring circus by its host, New Jersey WebGuide
the event will showcase booths from 35 different New Jersey companies
designing for or providing services on the Internet. Seminars include
"The ABCs of Putting Your Business Online," "Effective
Website Marketing and Building Traffic," "Using the Internet
for Corporate Recruiting and Job Searches," "Legal Issues
on the Internet," and "Internet Commerce."
The Internet Commerce workshop is being conducted by Toon Six,
president of International Customers Solutions Inc. in Danville
(973-366-5355, email@example.com). Six says the era of widespread
E-commerce is here, thanks to increased payment security: "Sending
your credit card information over the Web is safer than giving it
to a storekeeper or restaurant." He offers these tips for
browsing or search experience an interactive one by asking online
questions about product preferences or budget limitations. Not only
will you guide them to specific services, you’ll build your own
and provide a sense of personal attention.
any complex product or service, like a software program, you’ll need
a caller center where agents can interface with customers and send
e-mail to them directly. "Immediacy is a requirement," Six
says of E-commerce. "Fifty percent of all calls to a call center
need real time or instant response."
Promoters of bogus business opportunities are using
the cachet of the Internet to lure unsuspecting consumers. According
to the Federal Trade Commission, the same types of fraud that have
floated through the mail and over phone lines have turned high-tech.
Beware of pitches promising big bucks selling Internet-related
or services; when compensation is based on recruitment, instead of
product sales, the deal could be a pyramid scheme, not a marketing
plan. Avoid any sales offers for kiosks that provide Internet access
for a fee. The "profitable locations" you are promised tend
to be pizza parlors rather than shopping malls or upscale hotels.
And don’t believe claims that money can be made on the Web by people
with no Internet experience. Scams particularly target those who
technologically savvy. Check out any business opportunity with the
New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, 973-504-6200 or 800-242-5846.
Another online opportunity to approach cautiously is the cyber
Like live auctions, the highest online bidder wins, but that’s where
the similarity ends. Online auction houses don’t actually have the
merchandise being sold, so the buyer must deal directly with the
to complete the deal. Beware of sellers who want payment by certified
check or money order; try to pay by credit card or COD instead.
For a copy of the FTC’s "Net-Based Business Opportunities: Are
Some Flop-portunities?" or "Online Auctions: Going, Going,
Gone," call 202-326-2222. Or check out the website:
Those conning the computer illiterate will steer clear
of the more than 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students at the
New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark’s University Heights.
One of the state’s three public research universities — along
with Rutgers and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New
— NJIT recently placed second in the annual ranking of "Yahoo!
Internet Life" magazine of America’s 100 most wired colleges,
beating out M.I.T. and bested only by Dartmouth.
NJIT president Saul K. Fenster speaks at the Princeton Chamber
of Commerce lunch Thursday, June 4, at noon at the Forrestal. For
$28 reservations call 609-520-1776.
Prior to joining NJIT in 1978, Fenster served in various faculty and
administrative capacities at Fairleigh Dickinson University. A
engineer, he earned an undergraduate degree from City College of New
York, a masters’ from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the
Fenster’s June 4 topic will be "New Jersey Higher Education —
Leading the Way in High Technology." He sees the same changes
that have transformed business affecting higher education.
technology is changing the very nature of the educational
he says. "The lexicon of higher education already embraces such
concepts as marketing, price competition, benchmarking, outcomes
and economic development. With a cultural convergence taking place
between higher education and business, the question becomes: will
we be reluctant or willing participants in shaping change?"
The New Jersey Communications Advertising Marketing
Association (NJ CAMA) presents its annual New Technology Day on
June 9, starting with an 8:15 a.m. breakfast buffet and ending at
noon at the Forrestal, College Road East. Cost: $50. Call
Featuring new media guest speakers and selected exhibitors, the
will address Internet commerce and security, online media buying and
development, and E-marketing and website design. Stephanie Ardito
of Ardito Information & Research Inc. will speak on finding
on the Web; Gary Wien
of the Early Edition/FindNJ.com will
using the Internet for visibility and cost effective advertising,
and Bonnie Schwartz
of BizTravel.com will discuss E-commerce,
with strategies of how to build brands online.
"The most important elements to building a brand online are
a product relevancy and a target audience," says Schwartz, senior
vice president of the firm. "You must be able to speak to that
audience in both online and offline ways, using a variety of media
— direct marketing, traditional advertising, and new media —
to build familiarity."
This organization also solicits advertisers for its membership
Costs range from $50 for a business card or quarter page ad to a full
page at $100. Camera-ready ads must be mailed no later than May 29.
Call Susan Tibbetts at the Red Flannel Design Group at Princeton
Meadows Office Center, 609-275-4501, for information.
If you can’t quite stomach the prospect of E-commerce,
try "Eliminating Your Fear of Your Computer" at next month’s
Business Over Breakfast meeting, sponsored by the Middlesex County
Regional Chamber of Commerce at the Ramada Inn in East Brunswick,
Wednesday, June 10, at 8 a.m. For $25 reservations call 732-821-1700.
Four panelists will each take one facet of the computer’s domain —
hardware, software, consulting, and the Internet — and make it
Jeff Clark, a partner with NetCounty Communications, a website
designer and host in East Brunswick, will discuss the Internet.
still aren’t many small to medium-sized companies that use the
for commerce," Clark says. "But they need Internet presence
just for credibility. Customers use the Web for informational
checking out what services a company offers without having to deal
with a salesperson. Companies without a site are being screened out
by prospective customers."
Nancy Ostin, Chamber of Commerce executive director, says 44
percent of businesses in Middlesex County have fewer than 50
and that small businesses in particular struggle to secure a site.
"They don’t have MIS departments to manage Internet access,"
says Ostin. "Small businessowners are so busy running a company
they can’t research different providers or shop around for the best
Too often, she says, small businesses adopt an `all or nothing’
to the Internet; if they can’t create a monster site, they’ll forego
one entirely. "We’re hoping the Business for Breakfast
— which draws up to 50 attendees — "will convince them
some presence is better for their business than none at all."
The Middlesex Chamber of Commerce is itself getting wired, its site
at http://www.mcrcc.org is scheduled to launch July 1. The
will offer business information, like classifieds and a members’
board, as well as a solution to the small businessperson’s Internet
dilemma: homepage space available to members and hot links to their
Year 2000 issues will be centerstage at the "New
Jersey & Year 2000: Perfect Together?" conference being held at
the Hilton in East Brunswick, June 11, starting at 8 a.m. Hosted by
Carnegie Center-based Technology New Jersey Inc., the conference will
bring together business and government heavyhitters from around the
state. Irene Dec, vice president of Prudential Insurance, will
kick off the conference with a keynote address entitled "Year
2000 Global Business Impacts," the first of 10 presentations held
throughout the day.
Topics will focus on the economic and legal implications of the
date change, and will include "Year 2000…Are We Already Too
Late?" and "Year 2000 + Small Business = Big Losses?"
Speakers include representatives from the governor’s office and the
state Office of Telecommunications and Information Systems, PSE&G,
Bellcore, IBM, Merrill Lynch, and the NJ Small Business Development
Center. For more information, visit http://www.technologynj.org.
For registration at $100, call 609-419-4444.
Learn how to find your "angel" at the New Jersey
Entrepreneurial Network on Wednesday, June 3, at noon at the
Call 609-279-0010 for $30 reservations.
John May of New Century Partners, based in Vienna, Virginia,
and Lennart Haggard of Philadelphia-based American Maple Leaf
Financial Corporation share a panel entitled "Touched by an Angel
— finding the Right Private Investor."
The "guest angels" will answer these questions:
played by groups like the Pennsylvania Private Investment Group and
the Private Investors Network in Washington, D.C.?
and each will be joined by an entrepreneur who has received an angel
Universities are giving out more than diplomas in the
coming week. Two upcoming seminars offer top-notch speakers and are
absolutely free: the "Amazing Human Mind" conference on
May 29, at 4:30 p.m. at Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium,
and a New Jersey/Israel biotechnology conference on Wednesday and
Thursday, June 3 and 4, at 9 a.m., at a Rutgers center at 679 Hoes
"Biotechnology Prospects: a New Jersey/Israel Meeting," is
sponsored by the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology along
with the Rutgers Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, the
New Jersey Center for Biomaterials and Medical Devices, and the
Center for Agriculture and the Environment. For free registration,
Speakers include professors from Rutgers, Hebrew University, Tel Aviv
University, Ben-Gurion University, Weizmann Institute, and Technion.
Among the topics to be discussed are combinatorial approaches beyond
pharmaceuticals, value of point-of-care rapid diagnosis, using living
cells as biosensors, tailoring biomedical polymer surfaces, and use
of plant roots for environmental remediation and biochemical
One of the series of Reunions weekend lectures, the May 29 event at
Princeton University features seven presentations of cutting-edge
information exploring principal aspects of the human mind. It will
be followed by open audience comment and discussion.
Thomas W. Lanfitt, neuroscientist, senior fellow at Wharton,
and author will be moderator. Presenters include Lee M. Silver,
Princeton professor of molecular biology and author; Jonathan D.
Cohen, Princeton psychology professor; Clarence E. Schutt,
Princeton chemistry professor; Patricia S. Churchland,
professor, University of California at San Diego and author; and
J. Hopfiled, Princeton molecular biology professor.
Also Leslie A. Brothers, psychiatry professor, University of
California at Los Angeles School of Medicine; and Dennis J.
neurology and neuroscience professor, Harvard Medical School. The
Princeton University seminar is sponsored by the Class of 1943 and
is free. Call 609-258-5748 for information.
ALK & Caliper
Two entrepreneurial businesses in Princeton — ALK
Associates and Caliper Human Strategies — are represented among
the finalists for the Entrepreneur of the Year awards, to be announced
at a dinner on Thursday, June 25, at 5:30 p.m., at the Brunswick
For $110 tickets call 201-836-2485.
Alain and Katherine Kornhauser of ALK Associates on Herrontown
Road and Herbert M. Greenberg of Caliper on Mount Lucas are
among the two dozen statewide finalists. Founded in 1961 the
Caliper Inc. does employment and management tests and team building
training. Founded in 1979, the 100-employee ALK Associates develops
decision support systems for the transportation and logistics
and also develops computer mapping and navigation software for
and commercial applications.
The contest program’s independent panel of judges bases its selection
on innovation, creativity, leadership, and a strong corporate culture
that motivates and supports employees. The judges include one of last
year’s winners, Martin Levine, president and CEO of MarketSource
Corporation. Other judges from this area were Caren Franzini,
director, NJEDA, and James Millar, partner of Early Stage
The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award has been recognizing
success stories for 12 years and is considered to be the highest honor
an American entrepreneur can receive. Area sponsors of the award
are Building America Television, Chase Manhattan Bank, and Lowenstein
Sandler while national sponsors are USA Today, the Ewing Marion
Foundation, and NASDAQ.
Greenberg is an original founder of Caliper, which has offices in
eight countries. It has assessed the personality qualities of more
than one million individuals and has consulted with more than 23,000
companies on hiring and firing decisions. Among its clients are Avis,
Borg-Warner, Canada Life, City of Stockholm, Holland Chemical, the
Los Angeles Lakers, the New York Mets, Waste Management, and Yale
Greenberg is expanding into three entrepreneurial areas: individual
career coaching, training and development for team performance, and
organizational development to help groups align their people with
their visions. He recently bought a Continental Basketball Association
team for New Jersey, to play in the arena being constructed in
Alain and Katherine Kornhauser co-founded their firm;
Alain is also a professor of civil engineering at Princeton University
and director of the university’s transportation program.
The first of ALK Associates’ three divisions, the TravRoute division,
creates mapping and GPS-linked in-car navigation systems for consumers
and "mobile professionals" such as outside salespersons,
personnel, and delivery staff. Its products received "Best of
Showcase" in the Mobile Electronics/Mobile Office category at
the 1998 International Consumer Electronics Show.
The PC*MILER division provides a wide range of routing, mileage, and
mapping software including customized routing preferences, fuel tax
programs, and other fleet optimization software tools for the trucking
and rail industries. It was recently chosen as the U.S. Department
of Defense’s official worldwide distance guide and is being used by
more than 10,000 global companies.
Corrections or additions?
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