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Internet Story: 27 Jan 1999
For Mother-to-be You
thought you'd seen everything? Well, bet you haven't see the Sony Utertron 9000
:-) I couldn't resist putting this item in today. In The Onion, the web's online version of the National
Enquirer (but not associated with it) we have an article on the worlds first in-utero TV.
"The Utertron 9000, touted as the first prenatelevision technology ever
developed, features micro-miniature multi-speaker SurrounSound, HDTV compatibility and a
luxurious one and one-sixteenth-inch screen. ...developing fetuses everywhere will soon be
able to enjoy the same high-quality entertainment programming that, until now, has only
been available to the post-born."
"Sitting around for all those months with nothing to do, just waiting to be born,
can get pretty boring," said expectant mother Therese Doumanian, who has ordered a
Utertron 9000 for her unborn child. "I sure wish I had one of those when I was
You have to laugh don't you :-) Go check out the article.
(Disclaimer: "The Onion® is not intended for readers under 18 years of age."
Though there's nothing obscene or distasteful about most of it's content.)
Trust me. I'm NOT a doctor
Two interesting studies have emerged in the last day or two about why people re-visit web
sites. The first (The eCommerce
Trust Study), by Cheskin Research looked at,
what design and other elements of a Web site 'communicate' a sense of trust to users.
Here are the highlights:
- Trustworthiness is a Function of Time and Specific Formal
Characteristics of Sites
In order for trust to occur, individuals first rely on certain forms being followed.
Over time, reliance on these forms gives way to a reliance on experience.
Such experience is a necessity for true trust to develop.
- Six Fundamental "Forms" Communicate
Brand, navigation, fulfillment, presentation, up-to-date technology and the logos of
security-guaranteeing firms constitute the essential formal characteristics of Web sites
that communicate trustworthiness to visitors. These six forms, in turn, can be
divided into a total of 28 components that can be used to communicate trustworthiness.
- E-Commerce Trust Begins in Chaos and Ends in Trustworthiness
Consumers see the world of the Web as one of chaos, offering both possibilities and
threats. Only after they believe they have secured control over their own personal
data within the system, are they willing to begin to try out e-commerce. While trust
develops over time, communicating trustworthiness must occur as soon as interaction with a
- Effective Navigation is Generally a Precondition to
Communicating E-Commerce Trust and the Perception that Sites Meet Consumer Needs
Effective navigation is a necessary pre-condition to successfully communicating the
trustworthiness of a site. Having a well-known brand is also tremendously important.
Generally speaking, effective navigation combined with a well-known brand is the
best way of communicating trustworthiness. Combining strong navigation with
effective fulfillment can also achieve this.
and a Lesser-Known Brand Must Have Quality
Navigation and Fulfillment to Compete
For lesser-known brands, navigation of and fulfillment from their Web site play
significant roles in establishing trust. Any new Web-based brand MUST build in excellent
navigation and fulfillment if it is to be trusted.
- Web-Based Seals of Approval Matter More than Credit Card
Brands in Communicating Trustworthiness
The presence of credit card symbols do little to communicate trustworthiness, even
though theyre universally recognized by consumers. In contrast, Web-based
"security brand" seals of approval, such as VeriSign, when recognized, DO
communicate trustworthiness. Given the choice, smart Web retailers will place
security brand logos on their sites.
but Their Technology Matters Even More
On the other hand, consumers want to see that specific security brands use technologies
understood to be important to security, such as encryption. Savvy security brands
will work to equate their brands with such technologies, and explicitly mention their use
of these technologies.
- The Most Trusted Web Brands Are Well-Known Brands
Seven of the 12 most trusted brand names in e-commerce originated on the Web.
Regardless of where a brand established itself, however, one key aspect of establishing
trust with consumers is the reputation of a brand, together, in many cases, with personal
and the Least-Trusted Sites Arent Well-Known
All of the least-trusted sites on the Web originated there. Virtually none are
well-known, however. Generally speaking, a site that has never been visited and
isnt well-known is unlikely to be a trusted site.
- Trustworthiness Isnt the Most Important Attribute a
Site Can Possess, Its Still Fundamental
While trustworthiness matters, its not necessarily the key attribute of a brand
in cyberspace. Strong fulfillment and navigation are key, independent of trust
issues. In addition, overall value, selection and lower cost all can be more
important. Trustworthiness, however, is often communicated when other fundamental
needs are met, such as effective fulfillment. Consequently, taking steps that
communicate trustworthiness simultaneously satisfies many of the other needs expressed by
- Effective Navigation Key to Meeting Needs
Beyond the question of communicating trustworthiness, consumers rely on the quality of
navigation, more so than other components, to tell them if a site is likely to meet their
- Clearly-Stated Policies, Limited Information Requests and
Guarantees Are Keys to Future Growth
To maximize growth, brands focusing on e-commerce need to address concerns about
security and privacy. Some things that an e-commerce site can do to address security
and privacy concerns are:
Consumers Expect the Future of E-Commerce to be Like the
|Clearly state their policies on security and encryption; |
|Ask for only necessary information; |
|Provide shipping and return guarantees; and |
|Provide good communication with consumers.|
Brand Now Matters More than Medium
Generally speaking, consumers expect that theyll be engaging in e-commerce in
much the same ways they are today buying books, CDs and software. Some
product categories, such as jewelry and groceries, are expected to do poorly on the Web.
Seven of the 12 most trusted sites originated on the Web and have no presence outside
of it. In addition, 3 of the five dirt-world sites most trusted by consumers
arent seen as particularly appealing sites from which to purchase.
In addition, some Web-based brands, such as Amazon.com, have established brands with
more desirable attributes than their traditional retail competitors. Increasingly,
these Web-based brands could snare a significant market share if they choose to open
traditional retail outlets. Overall, we found that brand attributes increasingly
matter more than the medium in which they are established. This suggests
that traditional retailers need to see Web retailers as a far more dangerous threat than
they have previously.
...but I am a loyal supporter
The second report by the Forrester Research found four important reasons for
people to return to a web site.
- High Quality Content (75%)
- Ease of Use (66%)
- Quick to Download (58%)
- Updated Frequently (54%)
All other factors in the study, like Coupons, Incentives, favorite brands,
bleeding-edge technology, games, purchasing capability, customizable content, chat rooms,
etc., all ranked significantly lower (best was 14%).
We certainly try at Pendle.Net to aim for these first 4! Progress may be slow
sometimes but we will get there! If you know of any way we can do
this better please don't hesitate to contact us.
WH Smiths E-commerce Boost
Figures for e-commerce at WH Smiths look good. Sales through its Internet Bookshop
subsidiary jumped by 70% before Christmas. Total sales through the Internet business
have reached £1.7m since September 1 and the growth is accelerating. December
orders soared by 170%. See BBC
And Finally... Maybe that in-utero TV is not too far off beam. Today MicroTune, Inc. a company in Texas, announced the MicroTuner2000 - "tuner on a
chip". It's essentially almost all of a Digital TV on a small chip (14mm X
14mm). Expected cost, about $19.95 in quantity.
Andrew Stringer, © Pendle.Net Ltd,