Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Internet Retailer Releases 2009 Guide to E-Commerce

Research On E-Commerce Vendors
From the Authority in E-Retailing

Buying E-Commerce Technology in 2009? Buy This First!

Guide Next year will be very competitive in e-retailing. Who isn’t trying to expand their share of this market—the only growth segment in all of retailing. But as online merchants look to be more competitive in 2009, they are going to employ more robust e-commerce solutions and services to capitalize on the spectacular growth of online retailing. Trouble is, there are now more than 700 e-commerce solutions vendors and service providers. How do you pick the right ones for you that make the most of your investment? It is a difficult and high-stakes proposition.

Now there’s a way to vastly simplify and empower your search for e-retailing technology and services—our just published 2009 Edition of the Guide to E-Commerce Technology, a 368-page directory from Internet Retailer, e-retailing’s leading information provider. Priced at only $59 plus shipping, this all-new Guide provides valuable independent research on e-retailing solutions providers you will not find anywhere else—the results of six-month's journalistic study of all segments of the e-commerce technology market. In this comprehensive report, you will find completely updated details and all new staff-written profiles of 700 providers of e-commerce technology and services organized into 22 market segments. Vendors

These are not paid listings provided by e-commerce vendors but rather independently researched profiles of the leading e-commerce vendors. Each vendor profile includes the following new and updated information: Guide

Strategic Analysis of Their Business
Description of Products/Services
Primary Technology Category
Key Management Contacts
Date Established

List of Major Retail Clients
Typical Pricing of Products/Services
Key Features and Functions
Corporate Information

In addition to this key information on all 700 e-commerce vendors, the Guide to E-Commerce Technology includes the following up-to-the-minute analysis and data on the e-commerce product and services market:

Check Comprehensive overview of the current and future state of web retailing technology and the strategies top e-retailers are using to improve their return on technology investment.

Check Five all-new feature articles by top consultants on how to select technology providers and applications that are right for you, choose between on-demand or off-the-shelf applications, develop and manage a growing e-commerce technology infrastructure, and use customer feedback to implement new technology effectively.

Check Focused analysis on key emerging technologies such as video, advanced personalization and mobile commerce.

Check An exclusive survey of e-retailer plans for e-commerce technology spending in 2009 and beyond

Check Contact data on 1,800 top executives at America’s most prestigious e-commerce solutions companies—all organized by company into an easy-to-read guide

Check Details on more than 30 e-commerce technology reports by key research firms

Check Synopses of 100 books on e-retailing strategy and technology.

Even if you purchased the 2007 edition of this Guide, the completely updated and new information contained in the 2009 Edition Guide to E-Commerce Technology makes it an essential research tool for e-retailers looking to be more competitive in 2009 and beyond.

How to Order: All this research on e-commerce vendors is available in one 368-page volume for only $59 plus shipping. Supplies of the Guide to E-Commerce Technology are limited but can be ordered online now.

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USA most Hacktive - China Second

Study: Vast number of cyber attacks 'Made in the USA' • The Register
By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
Posted in Security, 23rd September 2008 03:48 GMT

When it comes to cybercrime, Eastern Europe, China, and Brazil may get the lion's share of press attention, but a new study shows a vast proportion of attacks come from computers in the United States.

Security firm SecureWorks has counted 20.6 million attacks against its customers that originated inside US borders so far this year. China ranked No. 2 on the list with 7.7 million, and Brazil and South Korea came in third and fourth, with 166,987 and 162,298 respectively. The study, which was released Monday, is a strong indication that there's no shortage of compromised computers on US soil.

The findings have important implications for organizations trying to fend off denial-of-service attacks and other net-based assaults. Namely, that they need to be aware of the threat that US-based machines pose. In August, after Russia invaded the Republic of Georgia, many Georgian IT staff members sought to secure their networks by blocking Russian IP addresses. They ended up getting clobbered anyway because they failed to block hostile computers from Turkey and the US, said Don Jackson, SecureWorks's director of threat intelligence.

Whereas many of the compromised machines in the US are under the control of people outside of the country, that is not generally the case in China. Entire university networks in that country remain under the control of hackers there, often with the help of insiders. Miscreants in Japan and Poland use much the same approach.

In related news, Chinese hacktivists have begun defacing the websites of several companies involved in the distribution of tainted milk. According to this post on the Dark Visitor blog, targets include the Sanlu Milk Company and the Mongolian Milk Corporation.

"When an infant with kidney stones lies weeping in a hospital bed, can the factory owners intuitively sense the condemnation?" one defacement reads. "In order to gain profit you have gone so far as to devastate these young lives!"

The defacements are designed to protest the shipping of baby formula containing melamine, a toxic chemical used illegally to make the milk appear it has more protein - and hoodwink food testing agencies. ®
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Worlds Fastest Internet Belongs Seouly to S. Korea

Web boom in English-obsessed Korea on Yahoo! News
By Park Ju-minMon

Armed with the world's fastest Internet and an even stronger desire to learn English, South Koreans are using the latest Web resources to master a language that is the economic and emotional focus of their education.

On any given day, students ranging from kids learning their alphabet to adults preparing for job interviews sign in on their Internet messengers, fire up their webcams and wait for English teachers to appear -- from faraway continents.

They hope one-on-one chats with foreigners will help them fix pronunciation, get rid of native accents and feel more comfortable with a foreign language. The country's official teaching methods, based on grammar exercises and vocabulary lists, have consistently failed to deliver such benefits.

South Korea's average score in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is below the world average despite having the largest number of students taking the test.

"It is really nice to look at my English teacher through the computer screen and feel like having a chat with a new friend outside the country," said Oh Sun-young, who takes a Web-camera English course on Skype with her Philippine instructor.

Web English is the latest hit in South Korea's booming English education market, enabled by handy gadgets and widespread fiber-optics networks.

The new service, along with more traditional conversation courses offered by phone, is one of the fastest growing segments in South Korea's private English education industry, which is estimated at 15 trillion won ($13 billion) a year -- almost half of the country's annual education budget.

About 150 to 200 companies are in the market offering phone and Web English tutoring.

"Students who are very inexperienced with English may initially find the classes challenging, but within three months, there is a tremendous improvement in most of the students' speaking ability," said Tara McKibben, a phone English tutor who has been teaching over seven years from the United States.

KT Corp, South Korea's dominant fixed-line and broadband operator, provides a service called "Hello ET" cooperating with a South Korean English education company.

"We provide Web-cameras to our videophone English customers so that they can log on the website and have live chat with instructors," said Kang Joo-hyun, a "Hello ET" spokeswoman.

One-on-one conversation in English is technically close to real-live talk, held in Web phone service such as Skype. A message board opens adjacent to the conversation browser, so that participants can check the spelling of a word or start writing if they struggle to understand each other.

Internet portal SK Communications runs "Spicus" which includes a job interview drill on a video-chat platform. Applicants hand out their completed English resume before the drill. An interviewer stages a simulation interview through webcam, looking through resumes, and later provides feedback on logical speaking and communication skills.

"Interviewers are former officials in human resources department of big U.S. (companies) such as IBM," Ryu Hee-jo, a spokeswoman for SK Communications, said.


Good English test scores and speaking skills are considered an indispensable key for success in South Korea. In their quest for fluent English, a great deal of wealthy South Koreans simply flee their country's school system and its rigid teaching methods.

South Korea ranks No. 1 in the number of international students in the United States, ahead of more populous India and China, according to U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.

However, for those who cannot afford thousands of dollars a month in learning English abroad or spare time for look for meeting arrangements, video chat at home fulfills their aspiration at much cheaper prices. A three-times-a-week Web English course can be covered for about 100,000 won a month.

($1=1151.0 Won)

(Editing by Rhee So-eui and Derek Caney)
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The First Credit Cards - A Quick History

Found this article in iafrica.com and thought it interesting. I especially got a kick out of Henry Fonda's Texaco Credit Card from 1953 pictured on the right.

iafrica.com |The history of credit
The History of Credit

Article by FNB and VISA

To know where you are going, it is important to know where you have been. With the increasing use and acceptance of plastic money in the form of debit, credit and pre-paid cards, as well as the growing global movement towards a cashless society, we investigate the history of the card and offer insights into where the industry is heading.

Credit was first used in Assyria, Babylon and Egypt 3000 years ago. The bill of exchange — the forerunner of banknotes — was established in the 14th century. Debts were settled by one-third cash and two-thirds bill of exchange. Paper money followed only in the 17th century.

Christopher Thornton, offering furniture that could be paid off on a weekly basis, placed the first advertisement for credit in 1730. From the 18th century until the early part of the 20th, tallymen sold clothes in return for small weekly payments. They were called 'tallymen' because they kept a record or tally of what people had bought on a wooden stick. One side of the stick was marked with notches to represent the amount of debt and the other side was a record of payments. In the 1920s, a shopper's plate — a 'buy now, pay later' system — was introduced in the USA. It could only be used in the shops that issued it.

The first charge cards

In 1950, the first 'plastic money' — charge cards — were issued in the USA, followed in the next year by the arrival of the first-ever credit cards issued to 200 consumers who could use them at 27 restaurants in New York. But it was only until the establishment of standards for the magnetic strip in 1970 that the credit card became part of the information age.

Since the introduction of bank cards in the early 1950s, the global acceptance and use of this form of payment system has grown exponentially. Today there is even a word for the study of money-like objects, such as credit cards, namely exonumia.

Exonumiasts collect any form of money — from the now familiar plastic cards to older paper merchant cards and even metal tokens that were accepted as early merchant credit cards. The first credit cards were made of celluloid and then metal and fibre, then paper and are now plastic.

Within the first seven years 5-million credit cards circulated in the US

Payment cards are a relatively recent development. Visa, for example, traces its history back 50 years to 1958 and within the first seven years 5-million credit cards circulated in the US.

Long before the first credit cards were issued, a visionary of the 19th century wrote that a cashless society, using credit cards for purchases, would exist at the end of the 20th century. Falling asleep in 1887, the narrator of Edward Bellamy's novel Looking Backward, published in 1888, wakes in the year 2000 to an America whose problems have been solved by getting rid of buying and selling.

Instead, 'A credit corresponding to his share of the annual product of the nation is given to every citizen on the public books at the beginning of each year, and a credit card issued him with which he procures at the public storehouses, found in every community, whatever he desires, whenever he desires it.' Bellamy's credit card is actually more similar to what we would call a debit card — one that draws from an established account.

The credit card was the successor of a variety of merchant credit schemes following the development of store-specific metal charge cards in 1928. These cards continued the system of extending credit to favoured customers and in 1938 several companies in America started to accept each other’s cards.

Early charge cards did not possess the key feature of modern credit cards: revolving credit, which allows cardholders to pay balances over time, while simultaneously charging new amounts. There are now countless variations on the basic concept of revolving credit for individuals, including organisation-branded credit cards, corporate-user credit cards and store cards.

The growth of credit cards has had an enormous impact on the global economy

The growth of credit cards has had an enormous impact on the global economy, changing buying habits by making it much easier for consumers to finance purchases.

Advances in technology have facilitated the use of credit cards. Merchants are now connected to banks electronically, so purchases are approved rapidly; online shopping on the Internet is possible with payment cards.

An alternative to credit cards is the debit card, which deducts the price of goods and services directly from customers' bank accounts. The design of the card itself has become a major selling point in recent years. Since the value of the card to the issuer is related to the customer's use of the card, there has been a rise of co-brand and affinity cards, leading to higher card use. In most cases, a percentage of the value of the card is returned to the affinity group.

The introduction of the latest in Visa chip card and contactless technology is bringing about the next evolution in plastic cards. Transactions are not only easier and more convenient, but may feature increased security as the card never leaves the holder's hand. Editor's Note: I don't know about that statement. RFID, by some accounts, may have a major security flaw enabling fraudsters to intercept the wireless transmission of the radio frequency waves. Doesn't have to leave the pocket. I've read reports that indicate the card information can, ironically, be "swiped" while it's sitting in the consumers wallet.

This cutting edge technology has an application beyond just banking and the functionality chip cards offer holds much potential for the card industry. The amount of storage space and the processing power of the chip card may allow various forms of information to be stored and utilised, such as biometric and personal contact info. These advances may likely contribute to making the concept of a cashless society a reality and also make the idea of having a single card for everything you need a realistic possibility.

While we still have some way to go before reaching Bellamy's vision of a cashless society, the rise of plastic money has put payment cards in nearly everyone's hands and it certainly looks to be a pivotal mechanism in the future of payment.
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UK Cardholders Flock to Secure Their Online Payments

September 23, 2008 by Gill Montia

Story link:
Cardholders flock to secure online payment methods

UK payment services association, Apacs, has reported a major increase in the volume of credit and debit card holders taking advantage of measures that can prevent online shopping fraud.

According to Apacs, over 25 million cards are now registered with secure online payment systems, Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode. Cardholder registration in August was up 150% over the year and had increased by nearly 600% on August 2006. The process of signing up is simple and can be completed on the websites of card providers.

The schemes offer enhanced protection against the unauthorised use of a card and provide state of the art online security without the need for additional software.

Online shopping card fraud was estimated at £223.8 million in 2007, when it formed around 77% of total card-not-present fraud losses in the UK. Last year’s figure was up from 45% from 2006, when Internet fraud losses stood at £154.5 million and accounted for 73% of total card-not-present fraud losses.
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Unembossed Cards Supported by Visa

Visa today announced that it will begin supporting the issuance of "unembossed" cards in the U.S. for Visa consumer debit, business debit and consumer credit cards. Unembossed payment cards feature printed personalized information, such as the account number and cardholder name, rather than embossed with raised lettering currently found on most U.S credit and debit products.

By changing the Visa U.S.A Inc. Operating Regulations to allow the issuance of unembossed cards, Visa is providing more choice, flexibility and value for issuers and their cardholders. The move follows a series of successful pilot tests with a dozen U.S. financial institutions, including Commerce Bancshares, Inc., TD Banknorth and United Heritage Credit Union.

"Being able to instantly provide members with Visa cards has helped us drive activation, usage and loyalty while reducing costs," said Michael Ver Schuur, executive vice president at United Heritage Credit Union, which participated in a pilot program testing the unembossed Visa cards. "Not only that, our cardholders felt secure receiving their cards directly at the branch and enjoyed the ability to access their accounts conveniently right away."

Traditional embossed cards typically require lengthier production times and more complex supply chain management. Because the cards have to be created offsite, they are generally shipped to the cardholders days after enrollment, leaving the new cardholder unable to make purchases or conveniently access cash at ATMs in the interim or relying on a temporary generic card. The ability to provide personalized printed cards instantly at the bank branch enables cardholders to take advantage of their cards immediately.

Visa has permitted unembossed prepaid cards in the U.S. since 2005. The new regulations give issuers the ability to also issue a consumer debit or credit card as well as a business debit card immediately to customers, giving them greater flexibility to manage their Visa card distribution methods to best fit their business needs."Visa is always looking for ways to bring more value to our clients and their cardholders," said Stacey Pinkerd, Head of Global Consumer Debit Products, Visa Inc. "By allowing the issuance of unembossed cards, we enable issuers to choose the distribution method that best meets their business needs, while offering customers greater flexibility and customization. Looking ahead, we will continue to innovate to provide products that meet financial institutions' demand for flexibility and cardholders' demand for convenience and security."

Visa unembossed cards are accepted by most Visa merchants, with the exception of those who require a manual imprint at the point of sale such as with an old-style "zip-zap" machine, and can be used for purchases made online, by mail or by phone.

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