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Top 10 E-Commerce Developments

By Larry Barrett  |  Posted 2007-07-13 Print this article Print

Google is No. 1, but eBay, Amazon and iTunes also make the ranking, based a survey by the Software & Information Industry Association.

A panel of industry and policy experts polled by the Software & Information Industry Association came to the same conclusion as the online masses: Google is the most significant e-commerce development of the past decade.

In the release announcing the top 10 e-commerce developments since the White House released its "Framework for Global Electronic Commerce" in 1997, the pundits said, "Google did more to fundamentally change the way we use the Internet than any other event in the last 10 years. Americans conducted 6.9 billion searches online in February 2007, and nearly half of those were on Google."

"It's no surprise to see Google rank as the most important e-commerce development in the last 10 years," SIIA president Ken Wasch said in the release. "But the list also includes several e-commerce tools that have become so commonplace we almost forget they didn't exist 10 years ago."

Along with the top spot, Google's online advertising vehicle AdWords came in at No. 5 on the list.

While Google has certainly been on a quite a roll and Apple's iTunes (No. 9) legitimized the online music industry, neither company would have enjoyed the level of success and prominence they now possess had it not been for the explosion of broadband Internet access.

In June 2004, broadband penetration of U.S. Internet users eclipsed the 50% threshold, a development that came in No. 2 on the list. The BlackBerry, Research In Motion's highly addictive PDA, squeezed in at No. 10.

The Top 10 developments in e-commerce were ranked by 75 policy and industry experts from a wider list of developments chosen by the SIIA staff. SIIA is a trade association representing more than 800 software and digital content companies.

Two developments that just missed the cut were the plunging price of disk space and the birth of the Web log.

Here's the complete list, which was unveiled earlier this week:

1. Google (September 1998): More than 30% of Internet users log on to the search engine to find anything and everything.

2. Broadband Penetration of U.S. Internet Users Reaches 50% (June 2004): When the Information Superhighway first opened, it felt like an old dirt road—until broadband released its potential.

3. eBay Auctions (September 1997): The online auction site showed users that the Internet could be used to reach massive—and even global—markets better and faster than ever before.

4. Amazon.com (May 1997): Showed the world what an online store would look like, and made online shopping popular through its ease of use and wide selection.

5. Google AdWords (2000): Keyword advertising has become the biggest online advertising vehicle, giving Google 40% market share and $6.8 billion in ad revenue generated last year.

6. Open Standards (1997): Perhaps the most important data standard in the history of publishing. 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.

7. WiFi (1997): The development of WiFi removed the limitations of desktops and cables, and shifted the focus toward mobile solutions.

8. User-Generated Content (2005): YouTube is now the embodiment of Web 2.0 and a must-be-seen place for presidential candidates. Most of all, it's a place where anyone can deliver a message to the world.

9. iTunes (2001): Legitimized the digital music industry. In 2006, more than $2 billion worth of music was sold online or through mobile phones, representing almost 10% of worldwide music sales.

10. BlackBerry (1999): A comprehensive communications device created a new mobile business culture.

Senior Writer
Larry, of San Carlos, Calif., was a senior writer and editor at CNet, writing analysis, breaking news and opinion stories. He was technology reporter at the San Jose Business Journal from 1996-1997. He graduated with a B.A. from San Jose State University where he was also executive editor of the daily student newspaper.
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