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Alan Albarran has always been interested in the business side of media. With the growth of the Internet, he has turned his attention to the impact of this new mode of communication on business and society.

His studies focus on the three types of electronic commerce conducted on the Internet – business to business, consumer to business, and consumer to consumer.

"Electronic commerce on the Internet is growing at a phenomenal rate, much faster than originally anticipated," says Albarran, professor of electronic media and film and associate dean of Meadows School of the Arts. In 1999, $68 billion in sales was transacted over the Internet. By 2002, annual revenues from electronic commerce are projected to be as high as $1.2 trillion.

"There is considerable consensus that the Internet economy will outpace the global economy over the next decade," Albarran says.

The economic growth potential of electronic commerce raises expectations that every type of business can make money via the Internet. However, Albarran says reality suggests otherwise. "Right now the only industries making money off the Internet are travel, financial services, and pornography," he says, adding that only 5 percent of online efforts were expected to be profitable in 1999.

Although the Internet represents a new market for commerce, Albarran says, it is important to recognize that electronic commerce involves relationships, not only revenue transactions.

"The buying and selling of goods and services, whether transacted between consumers and businesses or businesses and businesses, is still driven by people," he says. "The virtual economy will be no different because it will demand strong customer service and value. In turn, customers who receive good service and value will exhibit greater brand loyalty."

Albarran is the author of five books, including a new book, Understanding the Web: Social, Political and Economic Dimensions of the Internet. He also continues as editor of the Journal of Media Economics. His next project will be the second edition of his 1997 book Management of Electronic Media. He received his Ph.D. in telecommunication from The Ohio State University.

For more information: Alan Albarran
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