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Subject: Re: UKNM: CommerceNet?
From: Clay Shirky
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1999 15:03:16 +0100

> > Anybody know anything about this "scheme"? Or CommerceNet? And is this
> > as much of a bald-faced grab to badger merchants into paying in for a
> > worthless kite mark as it seems?
> Having come from the organisation (http://www.imrg.org/) that pioneered
> the notion of 'e-commerce best practice' in the UK (circa 1997), I know
> a bit about these things, and I think you are probably right. A cursory
> glance at the CommerceNet web sites does not volunteer info on the
> project in question so its hard to be certain. What I do know - from my
> own experience - is that 'kitemarks' without huge awareness budgets are
> destined to failure anyway.

Right, that's what I can't figure out. The barrier to ecommerce is
*starting* the consumer relationship. Once someone has had a good
experience - Amazon, Travelocity, anywhere - they no longer need to be
sold on the idea of ecommerce generally, but they are not going to
associate a kite mark with quality until *after* they've tried a site
and liked it, which is precisely when such a generic kite mark becomes

It looks to me like CommerceNet is trying to reverse the flow of
marketing dollars by making my site build their brand while claiming
to do the opposite.

> Look how hard TRUSTe has had to work.

TRUSTe is the perfect comparison - while they were trying to build
some sort of meta-brand, merchants were just going out and building
sites that worked well enough that customers trusted them without
needing TRUSTe. The 'ecommerce christmas' happened in the US with no
input from TRUSTe at all.

I do like the idea of a checklist of 'evolved common sense', but I'm
guessing that CommerceNet is trying to turn that into a revenue stream
with this cloaked-in-secrecy plan of theirs. Sounds like someone is
dreaming the dream of the cartel.

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  RE: UKNM: CommerceNet?, Steve Johnston

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