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Roger Clarke's 'Electronic Trading'

ANU COMP3410 - I.T. for eCommerce
eTrading - Topic Outline

NOTE: Lecture 6 will be presented before Lecture 5
(I'll explain why at the time)

Roger Clarke **

Version of 21 August 2012, rev. 31 August

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In this 6-hour segment, I'll address the trading of goods and services, including the concepts and processes involved in markets, important technologies required to support markets, and some currently important issues in electronic trading.


Lecture Outlines
Lecture 1: Markets

Week 7 - Mon 3 September, 10:00-11:00, Dedman 102 - Slides, in Ppt97 and in PDF

When trading occurs, whether good, old-fashioned, physical trading or facilitated by electronic tools, it involves 'markets', 'tradable items', trading partners, relationships among them, various ways of 'doing the deal', and business processes to support the activity. Without an understanding of these concepts, eTrading designs can be confidently predicted to be disastrous failures.

The fundamental concept is 'a market'. The elements of marketplaces and marketspaces are explained, and an outline is provided of the processes whereby trading occurs. Many different kinds of market exist, and more are being dreamt up. Which form is appropriate depends on a number of factors:

With the maturation of electronic trading, it appears likely that a larger proportion of contracts may be effected by means of auctions. This term refers to a number of somewhat different, formalised processes whereby prices are set for the exchange of goods or services.


This list only seems long!! All readings are actually quite short sections.

1. eTrading, Markets, Marketspaces

2. Tradable Items

3. Trading Partner Relationships

4. Trading Partner Topologies

5. Deliberative Procurement

6. Spontaneous Purchasing


7. Auctions

B2C Direct eMarketing


Online Gambling

Electronic Services Delivery

Lecture 2: Technologies Underlying eTrading

Week 7 - Tue 4 September, 09:00-10:00, Dedman 102 - Slides, in Ppt97 and in PDF

eTrading utilises available information infrastructure. Several aspects of I.T. are still failing to deliver, a half-century after computers were first applied to business. This section provides an overview of key technologies that have been grafted onto the Web to support eCommerce including lightweight Javascript, shopping carts, AJAX and Web 2.0; and the altogether more heavyweight web services and SOA approaches. Finally, mobile devices and access channels are reviewed.


1. Web-Commerce

2. Shopping Carts


4. HTML5

5. Web 2.0

6. Mobile Technology


Lecture 3: Electronic Payments

Week 7 - Tue 4 September, 10:00-11:00, Dedman 102 - Slides, in Ppt97 and in PDF

A great deal of trading involves one party delivering funds to the other. And one particular kind - currency trading - involves both parties doing so. Because of the enormous diversity of circumstances in which payments are made, a wide range of payment mechanisms have been used, and many continue to be used. Electronic payments have been made since 1870, and the expression 'telegraphic transfer' (TT) is still in use. The era of closed networks spawned new forms (SWIFT, ETFPOS), the Internet era still more (CNP credit-card transactions, Digicash). A new round of payment schemes based on contactless chips is currently under way, with implications for eTrading.

It would seem to be simple to establish a made-for-the-Internet scheme; but multiple attempts have come and gone and we're still using inherently insecure arrangements based on credit-cards. But a new round of change is under way.



Lecture 4: eTrading in Digital Objects

Week 9 - Tue 2 October, 09:00-10:00, Dedman 102 - Slides, in Ppt97 and in PDF

eTrading in music has been a battleground for over a decade. The large 'music labels' are only just beginning to come to terms with the changes wrought by digitisation, and with the ongoing growth in bandwidth the 'feature-film' industry feels itself to be under increasing threat.

This session delivers the essentials of the legal framework within which music (and other digital objects) are bought and sold - copyright. Old and new notions of copyright are discussed, in the context of easy and cheap replication and reticulation of digital works.


1. Copyright

2. Copyright Objects

3. Technological Protections / DRM


Lecture 5: Alternative Architectures

Week 10 - Mon 8 October, 09:00-10:00, Dedman 102 - Slides, in Ppt97 and in PDF

An overview is provided of three architectures relevant to eTrading. During the decade from about 1998-2008, longstanding client-server architectures have come to be complemented by peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies.

More recently, there has been a drift from consumer software to consumer services, which involves thin-client/fat-server structures increasingly being seen in cloud-based consumer services.


1. Client-Server

2. P2P

3. eSharing Digital Objects using P2P

4. eTrading Digital Objects using P2P

5. 'The Cloud'


2. P2P

5. 'The Cloud'

Lecture 6: Carbon Trading

Week 9 - Tue 2 October, 10:00-11:00, Dedman 102 - Slides, in Ppt97 and in PDF

Most scientists believe that we're in a phase of 'global warming', and that an important reason for it is our emissions of 'greenhouse gases'. Economists argue that 'emissions trading schemes' (ETS) will solve the world's problem. Many governments are adopting ETS, but party-politics has held Australia back and (after years of haggling) we finally have an interim carbon tax as a transition towards a market.

An ETS is inevitably an eTrading scheme. How does the information contained in the previous 5 sessions help us design infrastructure to support eTrading in carbon?


1. Global Warming, and why Carbon Trading is being considered

2. Auctions

3. eTrading in Carbon


1. Global Warming, and why Carbon Trading is being considered

2. Auctions

3. eTrading in Carbon

The Examinable Materials

The examinable materials comprise the following:

The Further Reading is not examinable. It's provided in order to enable you to 'drill down' on topics you're particularly interested in.

Discussion Topics for the Tutorial Session

Focus in particular on Questions 1, 4, 7 and 8

  1. Is each of the following a market, a marketplace and/or a marketspace, and who are the buyers, the sellers and the marketspace operator?
  2. Distinguish commodities from standard products.
  3. What category of tradable item is the degree that you're enrolled in?
  4. Identify tradable items that companies commonly buy using the 'spontaneous purchasing' technique, and that people commonly acquire using 'deliberative purchasing' approaches. Do companies ever purchase spontaneously?
  5. Why are auctions more commonly used for commodities than for custom-built and customised goods and services?
  6. Identify strengths and weaknesses in the University Coop Bookshop's Online Service. How good a grasp does the organisation appear to have of:
  7. In relation to Web Commerce (shopping carts and the like), what are your perceptions of the convenience and excitement on the one hand, and the intrusiveness and manipulation on the other?
    Do you think that current designs implement a fair trade-off between the interests of marketers and consumers?
  8. In relation to the kinds of ePayment mechanisms that you use, what are your perceptions of the convenience, the risks, and the trade-off between them?

Author Affiliations

Roger Clarke is Principal of Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra. He is also a Visiting Professor in the Research School of Computer Science at the Australian National University,, and in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre at the University of N.S.W.

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The content and infrastructure for these community service pages are provided by Roger Clarke through his consultancy company, Xamax.

From the site's beginnings in August 1994 until February 2009, the infrastructure was provided by the Australian National University. During that time, the site accumulated close to 30 million hits. It passed 65 million in early 2021.

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Created: 19 March 2000 - Last Amended: 31 August 2012 by Roger Clarke - Site Last Verified: 15 February 2009
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