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These reports were written by a team of local volunteers: Angela Merino, Assina Bounis, Celia Boyer, Eric Bianchi, Irčne Butor, Julian Albert Kilker and Melisa Makzume. The reports summarise information for people not able to attend the sessions. Their comprehensiveness and accuracy are not guaranteed. For more information, please contact the presenters directly. Their e-mail addresses are available at

Track 3: Commerce and Finance

Session: Types of Internet Business

By Irčne Butor, 23 July 1998

Andrew Lymer <>    from the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom) talked about small and medium sized businesses (SME) on the Internet. This is part of a study beginning in 96, and examining impacts in a way that is comfortable for small business. In the background is the fact that the commercial domain is the most rapidly growing part of the Internet. Internet is a tool for communication and mobility, which can provide access to valuable information. Seven cases of small commerce were given as examples. A method is needed to understand the impact on small businesses. To compare diverse business, categories and level of impact are studied in a matrix model. This model is a useful tool beyond the scope of academia.

Lloreng Pages Casas < > from Barcelona Internet Strategies (Spain) talked about Net strategies, relationships with (potential) customers. The outcome of this work is a comparison between real and virtual worlds, a taxonomy of internet strategies. Some ideas to consider are project classification, psychological approach, contagion from leaders, usability tests. Lloreng Pages Casas is graduate in computer sciences. He obtained his first experience with the Catalan Institute of Applied Telematics and is now a consultant. The Institute was dedicated to carrying out Internet projects with multidisciplinary teams. They are constructing PORTALS (web site intended to supply personal information to people). They plan to bring together a lot of content, using multidisciplinary teams, giving space not only to technicians but also to ecologists, psychologists, journalists, advertisers, etc ...

Martijn Ten Ham < > from the World Health Organization (Switzerland) tackled the problem of cross-border advertising, promotion and sale of medical products through the Internet. The authorities have discovered that drugs normally sold with prescription were freely sold over the Internet. Medical products in society have a special status. They are covered by all kinds of regulations based on scientific considerations. If a number of questions are not asked (quality, control, complete information, ...) there can be potentially negative consequences. A working group has been established and has come up with recommendations. The pharmaceutical industry is also involved. We should try to develop a model guide for the Internet user. Preventive action is necessary. When asked if there are recommendations or laws, and if he thinks we need to enact special laws for the Internet or expand existing laws, Martijn Ten Ham replied that for the moment they only formulated recommendations and gave a model for government. A next step would be to develop a model legislation, now only a model guide exists. It will probably be an extension of existing legislation. The pharmaceutical industry has guidelines. In most cases, current guidelines are also valid for Internet. The diversity of national approaches to the question complicates issues. In US, for example, non-prescription drugs may be sold on Internet.


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