In Box

What’s up, E-doc?

Dear Dr. Ecommerce, "Can you tell me how many professional, blonde female Internet users, between 48 and 51 years of age and weighing no more than 75kg, there are in Helsinki?" "No, I can’t." So the doctor can’t answer the important questions (this one was actually posted online). But if you need to find out ...

Dear Dr. Ecommerce, "Can you tell me how many professional, blonde female Internet users, between 48 and 51 years of age and weighing no more than 75kg, there are in Helsinki?" "No, I can’t."

So the doctor can’t answer the important questions (this one was actually posted online). But if you need to find out anything else about doing electronic business, he’s your man.

Dr. Ecommerce is the interactive centerpiece of a vast, online information network launched in 1997 by the European Commission’s Information Society Promotion Office. The site helps about 1,000 surfers a day sort through national and Europe-wide regulations related to e-commerce, find out about the latest technology, or contact e-commerce regulators outside of Europe.

Unless you really want to start up a start-up in the euro zone, skip the "Information for smes" (small- and medium-sized enterprises) — you may doze off before you can click to more stimulating fare. The site’s best resources include an "eThesis" discussion list where students can trade tips, links to other governments’ and multilaterals’ e-commerce projects or offices, and a statistical section with surveys on Internet usage and reports on the future of e-commerce; for example, one study estimates that by 2003 up to 5 percent of global sales will occur online. If none of that satisfies your curiosity, mail your "burning question" to the M.D. Tell him FP sent you.

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