The Software & Information Industry Association has come out with what they’re calling the top ten most important eCommerce developments of the last decade. Google, launched in September of 1998, ranks amongst the highest.
What’s disappointing to me is that Google AdWords is on the list. I’m disappointed AdWords is on the list because it shouldn’t be there–Goto.com/Overture (now Yahoo! Search Marketing) were really the first implementers of keyword advertising on the web, not Google AdWords.
Here’s the SIAA list of the ten most significant eCommerce Developments of the last 10 years:
2. Broadband Penetration of US Internet Users Reaches 50 Percent
3. eBay Auctions
5. Google AdWords
6. Open Standards (HTML 4.0 released)
8. User Generated Content
Here’s what the Software & Information Industry Association officially had to say about each of these developments. Of course, we all have opinions of the other significant developments in eCommerce, and I can personally think of about a dozen others that have had a significant impact on eCommerce in the past ten years. For example, I would add the “development of the Search Engine Marketing Industry” as well as the development of affiliate programs. The affiliate program industry has had a huge impact on the development of eCommerce in the past ten years.
1. Google (Sept. 1998): Google did more to fundamentally change the way we use the Internet than any other event in the last 10 years. The simple search engine that began with a couple of smart guys is now used by 30% of Internet users to help find precisely what we’re looking for online, map our world, create simple yet highly targeted advertisements and much more. Americans conducted 6.9 billion searches online in February 2007 and nearly half of those were on Google.
2. Broadband Penetration of U.S. Internet Users Reaches 50% (June 2004): When the Information Superhighway first opened, it felt more like an old dirt road — until broadband released its full potential. Available and affordable broadband took longer than expected to arrive — but when it finally reached 50% penetration in 2004, a milestone was reached that signaled a dramatic change in how commerce gets done online, how consumers use and share content, and how the world communicates. It took broadband roughly 4 years to reach 50% — but it is estimated that it will reach 90% penetration of Internet users by the end of the year.
3. eBay Auctions (Launched Sept. 1997): eBay showed us that the Internet could be used to reach massive national — and even global — markets better and faster than ever before. The launch empowered hundreds of thousands of power sellers to quit their day jobs and work exclusively online. Individuals could also compete directly with each other in ways unimaginable in a physical market.
4. Amazon.com (IPO May 1997): Amazon showed the world what an online store would look like and made online shopping popular through its ease of use and wide selection. Amazon’s public offering told the world that online commerce is legitimate and here to stay. It signaled the increasingly important role that eCommerce would play in the American economy.
5. Google Ad Words (2000): Key word advertising has become the biggest online advertising vehicle, representing 40 percent of that market and$6.8 billion in revenue. Keyword ads are the simplest and most cost-effective mechanism to reach targeted audiences, affordable to eventhe smallest business.
6. Open Standards (HTML 4.0 released — 1997): 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. It has probably been the most influential and important data standard in the history of publishing. Open standards can grow an entire industry, leaving more room and more opportunity for everyone.
7. Wi-Fi (802.11 launched – 1997): From desk to board room to beach, connectivity is never lost and communication is never delayed. The development of Wi-Fi removed the limitations of desktops and cables and shifted focus toward mobile solutions. Wireless Internet enabled road warriors to be connected anywhere in industries like real estate, transportation, travel, and financial services.
8. User-Generated Content (YouTube 2005): Right now it is impossible to say what the full ramifications of the “citizen journalist” era will be — but the dramatic impact of YouTube tells us more than any other recent development. At first a playground for kids with video cameras, YouTube is now the embodiment of Web 2.0. It is a must-be-seen place for presidential candidates, a battleground in the copyright wars, a vital distribution point for major media — and most of all, a place where anyone…absolutely anyone…can deliver a message to the world.
9. iTunes (2001): In the aftermath of Napster and the P2P battles, iTunes legitimized the digital music industry, revolutionizing the music industry. The importance of CDs declined while music as digital content grew, leading to developments in everything from Digital Rights Management software to increased bandwidth use. Today, more than US$2 billion worth of music was sold online or through mobile phones in 2006 (trade revenues), almost doubling the market in the last year. Digital sales now account for around 10% of the music market.
10. BlackBerry (1999): The BlackBerry makes communication instantaneous,and mobile. A comprehensive communications device creates a new mobile business culture. Giving road warriors the freedom to move to any location and maintain connectivity increases cooperation and efficiency. By having the web in the palm of your hand, Internet connected devices enable eCommerce anywhere, anytime.
This top ten list of eCommerce developments were ranked by policy and industry experts from a wider list of developments chosen by SIIA staff. According to SIIA, the official voting took place over the last month (June, 2007).
If you could come up with a top ten list, what would be your top ten list? What about any developments that you think should have made the list?