The Hubbub Over Virtual Communities

Your report credibly predicts the next step in the evolution of the Internet: the building of communities. I agree that community building will have a big impact on the way consumers and merchants conduct electronic commerce. Indeed, the industry knows that the prosperity of electronic commerce will be realized only when the fears of consumers about privacy and security are alleviated.

Supporting this goal are organizations such as e.TRUST, a nonprofit program that alerts consumers to how their personal information will be used. Boston Consulting Group surveyed consumers and found they do not feel safe about giving out personal information online. Interestingly, when we asked businesses what their main concerns were regarding electronic commerce, they emphatically pointed to low customer confidence.

Community building is a great first step, but we must continue these efforts by supporting initiatives that look out for both consumer and business needs.

Roel Pieper


Tandem Computers Inc.

Cupertino, Calif.

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