Government Technology

The Ten Most Significant eCommerce Developments of the Last Decade



July 13, 2007 By

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital information industry, today announced its list of the top ten developments that have had the most significant impact on electronic commerce since the White House released the Framework for Global Electronic Commerce ten years ago.

"Electronic commerce has provided a significant engine for the growth of the global economy and has sparked the delivery of a multitude of innovative products and services," said Ken Wasch, president of SIIA. "These developments reflect the unique nature of the Internet, which has allowed creativity, ingenuity and entrepreneurship to flourish."

Wasch continued, "It's no surprise to see Google rank as the most important eCommerce development in the last 10 years. But the list also includes several eCommerce tools that have become so commonplace, we almost forget they didn't exist 10 years ago. Ubiquitous broadband access, extensive Wi-Fi connectivity and access to open standards are simply fundamental to eCommerce today. The list also recognizes more recent developments -- such as iTunes and user-generated content -- which are in the process of dramatically transforming the way we work and live."

SIIA's Top Ten Most Significant eCommerce Developments of the Last 10 Years:

1. Google (Sept. 1998): Google did more to fundamentally change the way we use the Internet than any other event in the last 10 years. The simple search engine that began with a couple of smart guys is now used by 30% of Internet users to help find precisely what we're looking for online, map our world, create simple yet highly targeted advertisements and much more. Americans conducted 6.9 billion searches online in February 2007 and nearly half of those were on Google.

2. Broadband Penetration of U.S. Internet Users Reaches 50% (June 2004): When the Information Superhighway first opened, it felt more like an old dirt road -- until broadband released its full potential. Available and affordable broadband took longer than expected to arrive -- but when it finally reached 50% penetration in 2004, a milestone was reached that signaled a dramatic change in how commerce gets done online, how consumers use and share content, and how the world communicates. It took broadband roughly 4 years to reach 50% -- but it is estimated that it will reach 90% penetration of Internet users by the end of the year.

3. eBay Auctions (Launched Sept. 1997): eBay showed us that the Internet could be used to reach massive national -- and even global -- markets better and faster than ever before. The launch empowered hundreds of thousands of power sellers to quit their day jobs and work exclusively online. Individuals could also compete directly with each other in ways unimaginable in a physical market.

4. Amazon.com (IPO May 1997): Amazon showed the world what an online store would look like and made online shopping popular through its ease of use and wide selection. Amazon's public offering told the world that online commerce is legitimate and here to stay. It signaled the increasingly important role that eCommerce would play in the American economy.

5. Google Ad Words (2000) Key word advertising has become the biggest online advertising vehicle, representing 40 percent of that market and $6.8 billion in revenue. Keyword ads are the simplest and most cost-effective mechanism to reach targeted audiences, affordable to even the smallest business.

6. Open Standards (HTML 4.0 released -- 1997): The standards for the web embodied in HTML are overseen by the World Wide Web Consortium, which is not controlled by any company or government. The formats are open, well documented and designed to work with different software and hardware. It has probably been the most influential and important data standard in the history of publishing. Open standards can grow an entire industry, leaving more room and more opportunity for everyone.


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