Book Excerpt

E-business demands a new wave of respect from today's brick-and-mortar entrepreneur

or contact the Electronic Privacy Information Center ( or the Online Privacy Alliance (www.privacy

For e-commerce, it is especially important to secure your site for the receipt and exchange of customer financial information. Customers need to feel confident that their information will not be altered or intercepted by hackers before they move beyond merely browsing and actually purchase your products. It’s one thing to post a privacy policy on your site telling visitors how you’ll be using their information; it is an entirely different task to protect that information from prying eyes. You or your Webmaster should confirm that your Web server employs Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology to secure Web communication. SSL technology encrypts any information exchanged between your customers and your company’s Web server. SSL Server IDs, also known as digital certificates, can be obtained from VeriSign (, a leading provider
of corporate Website infrastructure services. (Prices start at $349 for the first year, renewals are $249.) VeriSign also provides an additional level of security that requires authentication before customers can access previously input information, minimizing impostor access to your client data. Sites using VeriSign’s Server IDs are noted by the VeriSign security seal.

No one is an island. And that certainly is the case in virtual space. Strategic alliances have been forming in record numbers for the purposes of increasing online sales and enhancing corporate brands. A strategic alliance can be a simple collaboration on a single project or a long-term union between two or more companies to add value to each participating company’s products or services.

Many so-called strategic alliances are honor-based agreements between companies. Typically, Company A provides one service and Company B provides another to fulfill a contract. Or, Company A agrees to market Company B’s products in exchange for discounted or bartered services.

A strategic alliance is defined as a formal joint effort between two or more firms to market a product or service for a profit. “The combined effort should exploit a perceived market advantage,” says Stephanie Ardrey, principal of Ardrey Associates International. “It is important for strategic alliances to provide clearly defined benefits to all parties involved. And, it is vital that the strategic alliance has specific goals and an exit strategy.”

Unlike a full-scale merger, a strategic alliance brings the strengths of two or more firms together for a predetermined period of time and for a clearly specified purpose. Each company benefits by broadening its market base, concentrating on its strengths and sharing the overall–and possibly, reduced–risk. Affiliate marketing programs are a form of strategic alliance.

SuccessNet and AztecaNet, two Los Angeles-based minority-owned Internet service providers (ISP), formed a strategic alliance that saves them several thousands of dollars in operating costs each month. The founders of the two companies realized that each company had access to dial-up lines needed by the other so they combined their available lines, decided to share an office, and are now able to target an international audience.

Another minority-owned ISP, Atlanta-based, has formed strategic alliances with several minority-owned

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