Starting in February 1998, I did the Masters of Communication course at Victoria University here in Wellington. The official details may be found over here.
I learnt a lot of good cool stuff. I also learnt some crappy political things I didn’t really want or need to know. But mainly it was a great (if a little expensive) experience, culminating in Comm 589, a two paper research project. I finished this finally in early June, 2000.
(First posted 17 May 2002.)
My project was entitled Privacy, Security and Trust: a Review of New Zealand Internet Shopping Sites.
It is often said that customers must trust an Internet shopping site before committing to a purchase. If so, what makes a web site trustworthy? Are New Zealand Internet shopping sites trustworthy? In this study, a literature review is employed to provide some answers to the first question, while a survey of websites is employed in an attempt to answer the second.
Issues related to site appearance, control of information, security, and consumer protection emerged among others as important in the formation of customer trust. With these in mind, thirteen questions were formulated for the subsequent website survey.
Five thousand Internet domain names within the “co.nz” name space were randomly selected and examined. In total, 170 New Zealand Internet shopping websites were found; these sites became the sample for the survey. The results appeared to show that New Zealand Internet shopping websites fail to recognise the role they must play in gaining the customer’s trust. Among other findings, it was discovered that half of the sites surveyed did not use any form of secure ordering, while generally the items most lacking on sites were privacy policies.
It became clear that New Zealand Internet shopping websites must put more effort into gaining the trust of their customers if the promise of business to consumer electronic commerce is to be fulfilled in this country.
Zipped PDF file (384Kb): here.
While I did the course I also managed to get some stuff "published".
- In May 1999 I had a piece published in Australian Electronic Journal M/C. My article had the rather unwieldy name of ‘And the Word Was Made Flesh and Dwelt among Us…’: Towards Pseudonymous Life on the Internet. But despite all that, it was pretty amusing.
- In November 1999 I submitted a short piece for the New Zealand Infotech Weekly’s Last Word column. The column is intended for industry humour, or personal views of an interesting or controversial nature relating to the industry. I’m not sure if I actually fulfilled any of those criteria, but I was quite happy to see it in print. It’s called Don’t let ecommerce tools erode trust. Unfortunately, with the advent of INL’s Stuff site, the link I used to have to the piece is dead. And it’s not really worth resurrecting.