Virtual Marketplace for Agent-Based Electronic Commerce

Virtual Marketplace for Agent-Based Electronic Commerce

Sheng-Uei Guan (National University of Singapore, Singapore)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-563-4.ch107
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Abstract

With the ever-increasing amount of available online resources in general, information overload has become a very real problem. One possible solution is the application of software agents in e-commerce. Intelligent agents are already on the Web, freeing us from some of the drudgework of searching and automatically keeping us up to date. There are now many examples of software agents currently available on the Web. Shopping agents such as BargainBot, Excite’s Jango, and Andersen Consulting’s BargainFinder are but a few. However, they have their shortcomings, such as lack of purchasing capability and limited range of product selection. Furthermore, the current Web front end to an online storefront is not conducive to autonomous browsing by search agents. A more comprehensive solution would therefore be to build a virtual marketplace whereby producers and consumers can come together, and with the help of software agents, actively participate and conduct e-commerce. There are currently several agent-based marketplace systems that have been developed for purposes of electronic commerce, and these include Kasbah (Chavez & Maes, 1996), MAGMA (Tsvetovatyy & Gini, 1996), and MAGNET (Collins, Youngdahl, Jamison, Mobasher, & Gini, 1998). However, these systems have certain limitations and shortcomings which make them questionable for e-commerce applications. An example is the Kasbah system architecture which did not include any form of payment mechanisms. Another is MAGMA which is felt to be rather expensive on network bandwidth and the system performance is heavily reliant on network latencies as it communicates through socket connections. The objective of our research is to build a new virtual marketplace prototype whereby producers and consumers can meet and conduct e-commerce in cyberspace with the help of software agents.

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