Review on a Local, Transactional E-Commersite Site

is one of the famous local transactional e-commerce sites in Malaysia. It started from the end of year 1998. It is the pioneer auction website in Malaysia. Its mission statement is “Serving the community and bringing a high standard of quality into homes and businesses by providing an avenue for on-line trading at a low cost”. Lelong makes an effort to develop and improve its functionality to attract more users. Now, it has more than 1 million users.

When we were reviewing, we saw that the website is similar with Lelong allows buying, selling and SuperBuy. Lelong also provide different languages such as English, Chinese or Bahasa Malaysia for users to choose their preferred language. Besides that, the website also creates a forum to allow buyers and sellers compare information.

It is very easy for users to make transactions in For sellers, they can register an account and upload the photo galleries of their products. Of course, Lelong charges membersip fees and small amount of service charge. When the sellers have completed posting up what they want to sell, they just wait for buyers to choose from their goods. Sellers can also sell their goods through the open store function. The purpose of creating the open store function is to help sellers create their own online store even though they do not have any e-commerce knowledge. The fee of the store is only RM168 per year.

Buyers can choose the goods they prefer and make transactions with the sellers. In order to protect the buyers, provides a service which can prevent fraud transactions - called Safetrade. Lelong Safetrade will keep the money of buyers until approval is given by the buyers when they receive the goods.


Review on Piracy in Malaysia

The post Piracy in Malaysia: Fighting through Education and Enforcement! dated 25th July 2007 is about the alarming software piracy rate in Malaysia – 60% of software is pirated while the world average is 35%.

Malaysia has taken action through Ops Tulen and Sikap Tulen to fight piracy.

Ops Tulen is the enforcement of law against pirated software with continuous raids on companies and vendors selling the illegal products. Millions ringgit worth of pirated products have been seized since 2002 until May 2007.

While Sikap Tulen is the education campaign aimed at educating target groups like professionals, company directors and the public about respecting intellectual property and turn away from piracy.

Even with the recent news of the King of Pop – Michael Jackson’s death, police has seized over 100,000 pirated CDs with among them, 10,000 copies of CDs with Michael Jackson’s songs.

The Malaysian culture does not instil enough awareness of the importance of respecting intellectual property in its people. Most of us buy pirated CDs because they are obviously cheap compared to originals, and we do not perceive and feel that it is wrong. Easy access to Web sites and file-sharing networks also lead to more piracy with infringement of copyrights.

Piracy affects our country’s reputation. Enforcement must be consistent and continuous, and not for just a short period of time. Educating people on the negative effects, business and social implications of piracy can help curb the problem.

Cooperation and efforts from everyone is needed to fight piracy in Malaysia.


E-Learning offered in Malaysian Universities

Basically, E-learning is defined as the delivery of education programmes by electronic means. It is also known as distance learning which is ideal for education at any level especially with university studies. Distance learning is a new teaching experience for lecturers and tutors since students and teachers do not meet face-to-face. E-learning began in the late 1980’s in Malaysia. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) offers distance learning programmes. They have interactive course materials and learning involves forums, chats and blogs.

E-learning suits best for people who are working but wish to complete their higher studies. It reduces travel time and cost for students. Since it is conducted online, it links all candidates together to exchange resources. Even without face-to-face meetings, student interactions is still easily achieved through the use of technology.

E-learning also provides the convenience of studying anytime and anywhere as long as there is Internet connection available. Students can share information and finish their given assignment whenever they are free. Its time flexibility allows students to complete assignments given by tutors before the date due.

With e-learning, students are able to get accurate information from lecturers or tutors easily regarding their studies. It not only allows students to join in virtual discussions through bulletin boards but also build up better relationships among the participants. It can be more efficient and effective than traditional teaching mode.

However, e-learning can sometimes de-motivate students. Slow internet connection may frustrate students and cause them to give up. Without disciplines, students may become lazier because of the freedom and convenience of e-learning. As a result, they will not be able to catch up on the study syllabus.

Lack of face-to-face communication can create misunderstandings easily too. Lecturers may not fully understand the needs of the students and the students also may not understand what the lecturers want as well. This can create confusion in the process of learning.
Nevertheless, e-learning is still a good alternative to provide education.

Here is a video about
Minnetonka Public Schools: A K-12 E-Learning Success Story
(K-12 refers to education levels from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in the U.S. education system)

Pros and Cons of Distance Education

Pros and Cons of E-Learning

Corporate Blogging: A new marketing communication tool for companies

A corporate blog is a blog published and used by an organization for its organization goals. Corporate blog is a good way for the organization to communicate with consumers and let the users express their comments through the blog. It is a way for the organization to promote and advertise its products and services. Other than that, it is easy to follow due to their centralized hosting and easy to understand because of their conversational style.

There are basically two main types of corporate blogs which are internal and external blogs:
- An internal blog is usually accessed through the organization intranet and is used for direct communication of the layers in an organization. It can replace meetings especially for people located in different places.
- An external blog is used to announce new products, services and policies of the organization. It acts like a less formal version of press releases.

Corporate blogs can bring much benefits for the organization. It is easier for the organization to promote its products and services to wider reach of audience. It saves advertising costs. With such technology, it is easier to communicate with consumers and obtain feedbacks immediately to improve the services and maximize the needs of the consumers. It also can enhance relationships with suppliers, partners and employees because they can express their comments through the blog.

But corporate blogs also have its problems. Sometimes, workers dare not express their comments and views because they are afraid of getting fired for what they say which may or may not be the truth. Besides that, blogs are easy to start but hard to maintain because writing consistently is difficult for most human beings. As a result, many corporate blogs are not updated and often it could damage the reputation of the organization.


Electronic Currency

Electronic currency (also known as e-money, electronic cash, digital cash or digital currency) is the digital form of paper currency. E-cash makes monetary transactions easy especially for transferring huge amounts or from another location. It enables more secure and anonymous purchase of items. Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is an example.

There are some advantages of using electronic currency. In this high-tech era, online banking, debit cards, online bill payments and internet business are reducing the need for paper money. Now, most of the banks offer services like funds transfer, stock purchase, e-banking and other services. These services provide convenience to customers in their transactions because it does not involve any physical cash or checques. Customers do not need to waste their time waiting in lines. Besides that, debit cards and online bill payments allow users to transfer funds from personal accounts to business accounts without any actual transfer of paper money.

E-cash is good for micropayments, which are small payments that are not significant enough to warrant the use of credit cards. It can be done anonymously. Stored-value cards like Visa Cash can be used to make purchases online (on the Internet) or offline (in the physical world). Online involves interaction with bank to deal with third parties while offline means conducting a transaction without involving a bank.

Person-to-person payments like transferring funds between individuals are also one of the common e-payment schemes. It is fast and easy. Automated Teller Machines (ATM) seem obsolete with the use of e-cash. For more information on what is e-cash.

Although there are many benefits to digital cash, there are also its limitations. Fraud over digital cash has become a main issue in recent years. There is the risk of privacy invasion and hacking of bank records associated with electronic money. Factors that may hinder the use of the technology involved in digital cash include power failures, loss of records and unreliable softwares.


A Review on E-Tailing

This is a review on a post on e-tailing dated 18 June 2007 from My E-Commerce blog. It is about, an innovative EC business model for restaurants. It allows customers to make online reservations anytime and anywhere, immediate cancellation, or leave messages to the restaurants.

The website allows you to narrow searches for restaurants to specific areas and types of cuisines.

You can then check the availability of seats on your requested date and time. It is convenient because it can be done outside business hours and customers do not have to purposely stop by the place to book a place. The system can also help the restaurants to familiarise with their customers’ preferences. At present, there are about 10,000 restaurants using OpenTable! Read more on OpenTable’s online reservation system.

As for Malaysia, a new site has started offering online reservations.

There are about 20 restaurants participating in it, mostly located around KL areas. Its function is similar to OpenTable. Customers can also earn points for each successful dine with a minimum value spent, almost like the Dining Rewards Program at OpenTable.

Overall, there are still not many restaurants with online reservation services. However, it is slowly starting up. Hopefully, Malaysians will start to see the benefits of such feature and encourage the list of restaurants joining in the system to grow in the future.

Credit Card Debts: Causes and Prevention

Do you know what is a Credit Card? A Credit Card is a method of payment that uses a small plastic card issued to consumers for making purchases. Credit cards may provide extra financial freedom but it will lead to a huge debt if consumers do not use credit card wisely.

Let’s look at some of the causes.

1. Poor Money Management
A monthly spending plan is essential, so that we know where our money is going. Sometimes, we may be spending hundreds of dollars unnecessarily each month and end up with extra charges on unneeded purchases. However, we will make more thoughtful decisions if there is good money management.

2. Expenses more than Income
Very often, we do not cut down monthly expenses in line with a decline in income for some reason and allow debt to fill the gap. Therefore consumers are compelled to use credit cards in buying stuff. The simplest way to avoid unwanted debt is to prepare for unexpected expenditures or emergencies by saving at least a recommended 4-6 months of living expenses.

3. Underemployment
People experiencing underemployment (getting less working hours at jobs) will be having lesser income. They may think of the situation as only for a short period but it is a false sense of relief. They should live a lifestyle that match their current income. Otherwise, debts will build up unknowingly.

4. Medical Expenses
The medical industry wants to get paid at the time service is rendered. The cost of obtaining cures and medicine is increasing if compared to previous year. Every doctor now accepts Credit Card because the doctor wants to get money instantly. We should think twice before using the Credit Card.

5. No money communication skills
Communication with family about the financial situation is important. Keep the lines of communication open and discuss financial goals and spending styles.

Here are some preventive measures.

1. Pay in full and on time
As consumers, we should always keep track of our credit card spending. Take self control and discipline to keep these cards in your wallet and not overspend on them. Make the payment as soon as possible to avoid paying interest charges to the bank, or at least try to make the minimum payment.

2. Avoid extra expenses
Prevention really is better than cure. One of the best habits is cut down on all unnecessary expenses. Wise judgments should be made before spending. There are some things we can actually avoid in buying.

3. Education
Financial courses important to educate people on how to plan their savings and spending. They are less likely to fall into credit card debts as an adult.

4. Limit the Plastics
Different credit cards have their own terms and conditions like interest rates and grace periods. Keep only one or two cards so that you can remember easily which one has the lowest and highest interest rates and not forget to pay on time.

Although credit cards bring convenience to people but it should be used with great care and caution and spend in accordance with own ability.


Ab0uT uS

This blog is created for the purpose of our Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)'s E-Commerce subject for the May 2009 trimester. The 4-week posts will feature various e-commerce related topics. The members are: a new guy in Group 4, a girl whose name sounds 'risky', a 'fat' girl who is not fat, and Gloria the girl who's named after an animated hippo