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Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce or ecommerce, consists of the buying and selling of products or services over the internet.


The amount of trade conducted electronically has grown extraordinarily with widespread internet usage. While ecommerce has, in the past, utilized specialized funds transfer networks, today the term ecommerce typically refers to transactions conducted using the World Wide Web.

Electronic commerce can be related to products that are entirely digital such as access to premium content on a website or music downloads, but most electronic commerce involves the transportation of physical items in some way.

Electronic commerce that is conducted between businesses is referred to as business-to-business or B2B. Electronic commerce that is conducted between businesses and consumers is referred to as business-to-consumer or B2C.

Government regulations

In the United States, some electronic commerce activities are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). These activities include the use of commercial e-mails, online advertising and consumer privacy. The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 establishes national standards for direct marketing over e-mail. The Federal Trade Commission Act regulates all forms of advertising, including online advertising, and states that advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive.[1] Using its authority under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive practices, the FTC has brought a number of cases to enforce the promises in corporate privacy statements, including promises about the security of consumers’ personal information.[2] As result, any corporate privacy policy related to e-commerce activity may be subject to enforcement by the FTC.


  1. "Advertising and Marketing on the Internet: Rules of the Road". Federal Trade Commission. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/ruleroad.shtm. 
  2. "Enforcing Privacy Promises: Section 5 of the FTC Act". Federal Trade Commission. http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/privacyinitiatives/promises.html. 

See also

External links

This entry includes content from the following Wikipedia article: Electronic commerce