Practical Ecommerce
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    Michael A. Cox

    Michael A. Cox

    Michael A. Cox is a former writer for Practical Ecommerce.

  • Design & Development

    NetSuite Aims to Increase eCommerce Efficiencies

    December 17, 2008 •

    Ten years ago, Evan Goldberg was grousing to Oracle Chief Larry Ellison about the lack of an ecommerce business management software bundle. Ellison challenged Goldberg, himself a former Oracle executive, to do something about it, and the result is the NetSuite phenomenon. Worldwide, ... Read More »

  • Management

    Pirated Software Rampant Among Personal Computer Users

    September 18, 2008 •

    To somebody who has never owned or made his living creating and licensing intellectual property, it may not be a big deal. Really, who is it going to hurt when someone downloads a piece of software without paying for it and uses it for personal gain? Or, what’s the harm when a kid down... Read More »

  • Management

    Profile: Credit Card Veterans Will Target Experienced Merchants

    September 2, 2008 •

    If you’ve got John Waldron and Sloane Bouchever in a three-way on the phone, the best strategy is try and stay out of the way and take copious notes – better yet turn on a recorder. When these two highly successful and motivated online business pros get to talking about merchants and cr... Read More »

  • Management

    Dr. J’s Pet Project

    July 11, 2008 •

    To be honest, it was a little embarrassing to be the daughter of an entrepreneur who was trying to start up a mail order livestock supply business back in 1975. Ruth Jeffers was a little girl when her dad, Dr. Keith Jeffers, decided to provide a higher level of service to his cattle cl... Read More »

  • Design & Development

    Magento Shopping Cart And 20,000 Friends

    June 18, 2008 •

    Roy Rubin held the cyber equivalent of a barn raising and had several thousand of his closest friends over for the event. Of course, everyone actually stayed home and did the work from their own little cubicles, kitchen tables, laptops on airplanes and Blackberrys on bar tops. That’s ho... Read More »

  • Design & Development

    Internet Security: The Seatbelt Is In The Trunk

    April 30, 2008 •

    Suppose you took delivery on your new car and the salesman told you, as you signed the order, that the seatbelt, antilock brakes, and the airbags were in a box in the trunk and that if you want to be safer you might want to have an expensive expert install them. That would be about the ... Read More »

  • Design & Development

    Interview: Ex-hacker Mitnick On Avoiding Fraudsters

    March 31, 2008 •

    You know that hidden bomb shtick in the movies? There's a bomb that's going to go off and kill a gazillion people. First, the good guys have to find it. Then they have to figure how to get into to it to disarm it. Then they almost have it disarmed when they discover a booby trap they ... Read More »

  • Management

    Enterprise Zones: Ecommerce Catches A Break

    October 31, 2007 •

    For anyone who doesn’t think ecommerce is a viable part of the world economy and plays a role in job creation and tax base expansion, here’s a flash: Ecommerce businesses are now eligible, at least in Oregon, for special tax incentives when they locate in enterprise zones, which are geo... Read More »

  • Management

    A Lender Or Borrower Be Is

    October 15, 2007 •

    The increased difficulty for people and small businesses to acquire decently priced loans, or loans at all, created a vacuum in the money business in recent years. Chris Larsen, the man who gave us beat Mother Nature to the punch in filling the void. It occurred to him that... Read More »

  • Management

    Caveat Vendor: PCI Is Here

    October 3, 2007 •

    Here’s one of those cold chill up your spine thoughts: Every day, there are at least two new threats to data security developed by identity thieves and Internet system hackers. And it never stops. Security pros slam and lock one gate and the hordes find another chink and slither through... Read More »

  • Management

    No Fear For

    September 19, 2007 •

    Jay Steinfeld can’t really tell you where his core values came from. Maybe it was instinctive. Maybe it wasn’t. Regardless, as the years went by, three core values in particular became more and more what drove him in life and in business. Steinfeld: I wanted to be a pioneer, a leade... Read More »

  • Management

    Interview: UPS V.P. On Shipping Technology

    July 11, 2007 •

    When Jordan Colletta talks about the way we used to ship and track and deliver goods before it became a way of life for thousands of e-entrepreneurs, he knows what he's talking about. For three years, starting in 1975, he was one of those guys you see running in and out of businesse... Read More »

  • Management

    If Your “Baby Is Ugly,” Fix It

    May 29, 2007 •

    You know those little spur-of-the-moment, do-it-on-a dare things that occasionally bring about permanent change? Something like that happened to Shirley Tan. There she was in her third year at Golden Gate College in San Francisco, at work on a degree in international business. A friend... Read More »

  • Management From eBay To A $31M Empire

    May 9, 2007 •

    If you order pliers from, you really can't just order pliers. You need to know what kind. Do you want locking pliers? Needle nose pliers? Tongue-and-groove pliers, slip-joint pliers, linesman's pliers, diagonal cutting pliers, electrician's pliers, hose clamp pliers, super-... Read More »

  • Management

    Profile: Competing Against Major Companies

    February 23, 2007 •

    In the Green Mountains of Vermont, there are legends. There is, for instance, the legend of Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys — patriots to a fault, if a little rough around the edges. Part of their lore includes the "taking" of Fort Ticonderoga over in New York. Allen and his ba... Read More »

  • Management

    The Struggle To Create A Successful eBusiness

    February 5, 2007 •

    It's a good thing Mother Parkinson, a librarian, told her boys that people would never buy books from somebody on the Internet. Otherwise, we might not have Peapod, the quintessential online supermarket serving about 260,000 customers from Boston to Milwaukee and from Washington, D.C., ... Read More »

  • Management’s Craig Newmark

    December 1, 2006 •

    Back in the mid-20th Century, painters like Ellsworth Kelly and Agnes Martin were making names for themselves practicing a form of art emphasizing extreme simplification of presentation - primary colors, basic forms, fewer details. This simple approach had devotees in other realms as we... Read More »

  • Conversion

    Sales Tax Initiative Still Initiating

    November 1, 2006 •

    Ever since the Supreme Court of the United States put the burden back on the states to come up with a way to collect sales tax on millions of Internet sales, the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP) has been chipping away at the monumental task of getting 50 states and more than 7,000 t... Read More »

  • Management

    Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne

    November 1, 2006 •

    What kind of a mind thinks through the concept of starting a retail sales business in which you have no idea what your inventory will be from one day to the next, where the inventory is going to come from or for how much you can sell it? It’s a mind schooled in the rough-and-tumble worl... Read More »

  • Management’s Daniel Thralow

    October 1, 2006 •

    In December of 1996, Daniel Thralow (pronounced Trah-low) sold one pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses on the Internet. Thralow: A local guy said to me, “I’m starting this little group of websites. Give me a hundred dollars and I’ll build you a web page.” So we built this little web page—it ha... Read More »

  • Management

    Wired Magazine’s Chris Anderson

    September 1, 2006 •

    In the good old days of rock and roll, one of my tasks, as a program director for a top 40 radio station, was to wade through 300 or 400 new records that came in each week from distributors, record companies and the band playing in the garage not far from my apartment. I would drop the ... Read More »

  • Management

    Website Profile: Selling Fish Makes Online Niche

    August 1, 2006 •

    In Meredith Wilson's The Music Man, the opening number has a gang of traveling salesmen pattering cleverly about how a salesman’s got to know the territory and his products. Professor Harold Hill was declared a fake — he didn’t know the territory. When it comes to selling salmon, wild ... Read More »

  • Podcasts

    JupiterResearch’s Patti Freeman Evans

    August 1, 2006 •

    Patti Freeman Evans has been in the ecommerce industry before the beginning. For the past 19 years she has been creating customer-centric ecommerce sites, integrating channels effectively, developing innovative marketing initiatives and ensuring high-standard customer service and order-... Read More »

  • Management Co-founder Rick Pura

    July 1, 2006 •

    Rick Pura just finished writing the software code for "Rick’s Search Engine." He thinks it works pretty well, and he may go into the search engine business. He knows he can write good software; it was he and Keith Waters who engineered the database and system that powers the best-used-b... Read More »

  • Management

    Givens Books Partners with

    July 1, 2006 •

    When most of us think about an ecommerce website, we think of a place with pictures and descriptions of inventory, which a shopper can toss into a virtual shopping cart and buy with a mouse click. With the advent of portals such as, there are esellers who don’t have carts. ... Read More »

  • Management Founder Steve Woda

    May 31, 2006 •

    For every person who shops on the Internet, there are hundreds of others who don’t – who won’t. They don’t want to. They feel, with some justification, that doing so would lead to the nightmares others have lived through with identity theft, undelivered merchandise, credit-card fraud – ... Read More »

  • Management

    Clear Block! Rides The Mainline

    May 31, 2006 •

    Clear Block is a railroad signal, indicating that the block of track ahead is clear and no train wrecks are in the offing. Joe Derouin, a 48-year-old who loves trains, dreamed of being in the model-railroad business. He got the “clear block” call from his wife Jeanne almost eight years ... Read More »

  • Management Persistence Pays for Zoovy Store Owner

    May 1, 2006 •

    "I always wanted to be a pioneer coming across the plains in a covered wagon,” says Marion Keisling. However, there is not much need for covered wagon driving these days, so Keisling has done her pioneer thing in the ecommerce business. She runs a company called and does... Read More »

  • Management

    Zoovy CEO David Steel

    May 1, 2006 •

    The song, the one by Leroy VanDyke in 1959, tells about a boy from Arkansas who longs to be an auctioneer. He went off to school and learned how to say things like, “Thirty dollar bid it now, thirty-five Will you gimmie thirty-five, To make it thirty-five, to bid it a thirty-five Who wo... Read More »

  • Design & Development

    eCommerce Fraud: Build a Human Firewall

    April 1, 2006 •

    There is a fellow from Europe named Kevin Mitnick, who can find your Social Security number online in 15 seconds. He was the hacker who was elevated to “computer terrorist” status by the FBI and Interpol. They caught him and put him in jail for five years, but there are thousands like h... Read More »