Letter to the Editor

I read your articles related to "Reality check" [Federal Computer Week, March 19, 2001] and have a few comments.

1. Security on the Web is a hidden expense that many people are avoiding. It costs a lot to have adequate means of verifying who is sending an order or verifying a receipt. The telephone network has a much better record of assuring reliable connections between people.

2. Personalization on the Web is still in its infancy. Most e-commerce companies are not willing to maintain a personal context for each of their customers online, whereas most commercial entities have extensive files, with the ultimate being click-stream analysis and customer relationship management.

3. In many businesses, profitability comes from being able to charge different rates to different customers. Some unprofitable customers are even good for business as long as they cover their direct costs. The Web works against this flexibility.

4. The human touch is missing. Almost everyone values the chance to talk with a person more highly than the chance to talk to a computer.

I hope that these things are obvious to you, but I did not see them in your articles.

Name withheld upon request

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