Although the actual web address of Performance Drugs, Inc. wasn't printed
in the article, it didn't require rocket science to find the online drug
store. Sure enough, Viagra is for sale here at $10 a pill, as well as Propecia,
Minoxidil and Stimula. Once again, traditional societal rules and regulations
are being challenged in the brave new Internet world and it will be up
to the regulators to duke it out with the Internet freedom fighters.
First selling sex, then giving birth online and now selling Viagra without
a prescription. What next? Online marriage and one-click divorce? Call
me square, but I prefer to spend my time and money in more mainstream e-commerce
venues, and there are plenty of good places to trade on the Net.
Electronic commerce is growing exponentially and is clearly the hottest
new area of economic development today. Last year, netizens spent $4.3
billion shopping online and this number is expected to soar to $54 billion
by the year 2002, according to International Data Corp. Convenience, fair
pricing, improved encryption technology and online security measures are
luring increasing numbers of people to transact their business online.
My first online shopping excursion was to the bookstore www.amazon.com
and I've never been disappointed since. Each time I visit the site to browse
the stacks, I'm personally greeted with a list of updated recommendations,
based on my previous purchases. If a website can feel friendly and cozy,
this is it. It's also a great convenience for busy people who don't always
have the luxury of shopping during regular business hours.
I've shopped for music CD's at Music Boulevard -- www.musicboulevard.com
-- and Tower Records online -- www.towerrecords.com
Both sites offer secure online ordering and the prices are comparable and
often less than traditional music stores. Delivery options range from five
days to overnight for a nominal fee. All orders are immediately confirmed
by e-mail and include a Federal Express tracking number so that you can
easily check on the progress of your order from the FedEx website -- www.fed
Of the two music sites, Music Boulevard is by far the more comprehensive
of the two, especially when hunting for those hard-to-find titles. When
searching for Claudio Baglioni, an Italian pop singer favorite of mine,
Tower Records returned three CD titles, with no listing of contents, while
Music Boulevard carried 19 CDs with a complete listing of all song titles
for each CD.
If you're hungry for wonderful fish direct from the Pacific Northwest,
Pike's Market offers next day delivery of fresh fish to anywhere in the
United States. This site can be found at www.pikeplacefish.com
Not only is the fresh fish wonderful, but the website is lots of fun
It's not quite as entertaining as watching the fish throwers perform
live at Pike's Market in Seattle, but the graphics and animations are well
worth a visit to this website. The delivery prices are a bit steep, but
if you're in the mood for the freshest fish, it's worth the splurge.
Knock on wood, I've never experienced a problem submitting credit card
information over the Internet, and I've traded a fair amount online. I
do make sure the web page is secure by double-clicking the little padlock
in the left-hand corner of my Netscape browser window. Netscape then will
provide a report on the encryption status of the current page so that you'll
know if it's safe to transmit your credit information. While this is not
a fail-safe method of insuring security, it's probably safer than handing
your credit card over to a restaurant or retail clerk.
Clothing, food, wine, computers, cars, vacations, airline tickets, and
just about every conceivable retail item is now for sale through the Internet.
The prices are typically quite reasonable since the overhead costs are
But beware, there's still plenty of snake oil salesmen and sleazy fly-by-nights
out there as well. Let your good judgment and practical business sense
guide you to the best bargains on the Net.
Cathi Schuler owns a computer literacy training/consulting company,
Cee Prompt! She is a co-author of computer textbooks and can be reached
by e-mail at email@example.com or
firstname.lastname@example.org or by
mail c/o The Record, P.O. Box 900, Stockton, CA 95201. She is on the Internet