On the Internet, small businesses have become big business, and a really big business, Microsoft, wants a piece of the action. The company’s Small Business Center ( is one of many sites offering advice and services for small businesses moving online. Most features, whether free or paid, are what you would expect: lots of links and information along the lines established by Prodigy Biz or Small Business Center, however, stands out for its affordable advertising and marketing services. See Figure.

One program helps businesses create banner ads and places them on a collection of Web sites that it claims are visited by 60 percent of the Web surfing community. With its “Banner Network Ads” program, buyers do not pay a huge fee upfront, and they do not run the risk that a huge number of visitors will unexpectedly drive up click through commissions. Instead, this program allows small business to pay a small, fixed fee for a guaranteed number of clicks through (people who click on your banner ad to visit your Web site). Small Business Center rotates these banner ads around a network of participating Web sites and removes the ad as soon as it has received the guaranteed number of click through visitors. This action eliminates the guesswork regarding both traffic and fees. The three packages—100, 250, and 1,000 visitors—break down to 50 cents per visitor.
a. Check out Small Business Center and the other e-commerce portals mentioned. Identify several benefits and limitations for a business using these Web sites.
b. Which Web site is your favorite?Why?

  • CreatedDecember 31, 2012
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