Monday, 31 May 2010

The role of institution-based trust in initial trust formation between E-commerce buyers and sellers in the Nigerian E-commerce environment

The following is a summary of my masters degree dissertation which is a study of Nigerian attitudes with respect to E-commerce in Nigeria, It is mainly focused on trust. The full text can be read here or in the scribd window right at the end of the writeup, enjoy...

E-commerce has been largely very successful and participation requires one to engage with whom they have little or no prior interaction, this requires trust.
The role of trust in E-commerce has been researched and written about extensively, however, most of the literature has focused mainly on developed economies and as such data and survey samples have been taken mostly from these economies. This study intends to contribute to filling that gap by researching key institutional safeguards that encourage initial trust formation between online consumers and vendors and testing them within the Nigerian online environment.
Drawing from Institution based trust literature an integrated model of institutional trust was developed. Nine institutional mechanisms influencing customer trust in e-commerce relationships were identified. They are perceived feedback, perceptions of credit card guarantees, perceptions of security, perceptions of monitoring, perceptions of legal bonds, perceptions of insurance, perceptions of accreditation, perceptions of escrow services and perceptions of third party payment services.
Nine Hypotheses were drawn based on the institutional mechanisms identified and their validity in the Nigerian online environment and an empirical study was carried out to test them. Two Nigerian banks were selected as case study debit Card issuers and data for the study was collected in Nigeria by means of survey questionnaires and semi-structured interviews of the a senior banking officers in each of the case study Debit card issuers (Nigerian Banks).
All hypotheses were confirmed. It was found that all the institutional mechanisms identified by the study influence Nigerian online users' decisions to trust in an e-commerce relationship.

Summary of results
As can be seen in Table 2.0 below, based on the results of the survey conducted in the study, all the hypotheses stated in the abstract were confirmed within the Nigerian context but to varying degrees.

The results of this study suggest that Nigerian internet users are influenced to trust web vendors based on their perceptions of protections even if in reality such protection does not exist. This has strong implications for e-commerce in Nigeria, it means e-commerce web third parties have to work extra hard to make customers aware of their presence and how they protect the online customer, for e-commerce business management it implies that they need to sensitize customers and make them aware of the measures in place to assure their safety, for the Nigerian Government it implies a need for laws that are more protective of customers in cyber space and massive sensitization of these to encourage e-commerce growth.

Research Limitations 
Although the data generally supports the model that has been proposed by this study it is necessary to highlight the limitations of this study.
The two main limitations are that the sample size is smaller than has been recommended for the size of the population that is being studied and the statistical methods used were very simple. However, it is important to note that this study is primarily aimed at offering a snapshot of institutional mechanisms within the Nigerian context and as a first study is meant to open up the area for further research and with regards to that it succeeds.

Suggestions for future research
This study draws from existing literature on trust and seeks to prove that trust mechanisms exist within the Nigerian context and influence Nigerian online users to transact online. The aim of this study is to open up the study of trust in e-commerce within the context of Nigeria specifically and developing economies generally. Therefore there is need for better and more accurate research with a larger sample size, more variables and better statistical analysis.

This study was able to answer the research questions posited at the first chapter in this study as it has been able to prove that theories on the role of institution-based trust in initial trust formation between buyers and sellers hold true for Nigeria. The study was also able to identify key institutional mechanisms that influence customers to transact online with Nigerian web vendors.
It was able to raise some interesting points with regards to how the perceptions of protection are stronger than the reality of the protection actually offered by institutional mechanism within the Nigerian context.
The study has made recommendations that are very useful for common web users, e-commerce management and government agencies.

Full text of Writeup below....
The Role of Institution-based Trust in Initial Trust Formation Between E-commerce Buyers and Sellers in the...

Sunday, 16 May 2010

.NET Facebook SDK

Just found this on the Microsoft MSDN website, a free downloadable .net toolkit for Facebook. It looks pretty awesome.

The toolkit is comprised of the following core assemblies:

  • Facebook.dll: This is the main assembly that will be used by all applications. This has all the logic to handle communication with the Facebook application. This assembly also has specific support of XAML applications (Silverlight and WPF) to enhance the Facebook platform to make databinding and data caching easier.
  • Facebook.Silverlight.dll: This is the Silverlight version of the main assembly that will be used by all Silverlight applications. This has all the logic to handle communication with the Facebook application. This assembly also has specific support of XAML applications to enhance the Facebook platform to make databinding and data caching easier. The REST API in this assembly is Asynchronous only.
  • Facebook.Web.dll: This assembly should be used by Canvas applications. The main functionality supported in this assembly is to encapsulate the handshake between the Facebook application and a canvas application (both FBML and IFrame)
  • Facebook.Web.Mvc.dll: Provide a support building canvas applications using ASP.NET MVC. Separated from Facebook.Web.dll to avoid all developers from needing to install the MVC bits.
  • Facebook.Winforms.dll: This assembly provides support for writing Facebook applications using Winform technology. This provides a Component that wraps the API to make it easier to use from Winforms. This also contains some user controls to help display Facebook data easily.

Will have a look at it soon and post my findings plus (possibly) a link to a Facebook app developed by me. :-)

Monday, 10 May 2010

Apple losing its cool factor with techies?

According to Jason Hiner of tech republic's article, Apple might be falling out of favor with techies based on  "The company’s stubborn refusal to support Adobe Flash (which wins props with some IT pros but breaks a lot of Web sites), its draconian and ambiguous review policy for the App Store, and it’s strong-arm legal tactics with HTC and Gizmodo" (u know the incident where an apple engineer forgot an iPhone prototype in a bar, was found by some guy, who sold it to a gizmodo columnist, who was later arrested and his house ransacked by police because he posted the pictures of the phone online.. phew, mouthful.).

As for me say, its about time!! they've had it coming for a long long time. I will be the first to admit that apple's products are really really cool and very well built but I have always had a problem with the way they do their business, releasing Iphones officially in only select markets,  heavy screening of iphone apps for the appstore, c'mon!!

They seriously need to think very carefully about where they intend to be in the next couple of years and how they intend to get there, the path they are currently on is the dark path, they have been warned...

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Some changes to Microsoft's 2010 certifications

For its 2010 certification process, Microsoft made some changes and I am glad to say for the better, being a .net developer I will be focusing on visual studio, the visual studio certificates are

•    Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS)
•    Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD)

Now I will not go into much detail because doing so will be rehashing the Microsoft learning website, just go there to get more info.
I will be focusing on the web developer ASP.Net stream because that’s where my interest lies, if you need more info on the other streams go here.
I will answer a few FAQs based on my research so far. The FAQs are:

•    How many exams do I have to take
•    When will I be able to do the exams
•    What’s the syllabus
•    How much will it cost
•    How do I prepare

How many exams do I have to take
Good news!! No need to do the .net foundation exam otherwise known as Exam 70-536: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework, Application Development Foundation, I have always wondered the point of an exam that does not give you a certificate (can you say money making scheme).
To be an MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technologist) all you need to do is pick your flavour, and do the exam, my flavour is MCTS: .NET Framework 4, Web Applications so i’ll be doing the Exam 70-515: TS: Web Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4.
To be an MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer) all you need to do is .. yes you guessed it, pick a flavour, mine is MCPD: Web Developer 4, and do the requisite MCTS exams which for my flavour are
  1. The Exam 70-515: TS: Web Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4 for the MCTS: .NET Framework 4, Web Applications
  2. The Exam 70-513: TS: Windows Communication Foundation Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4 for the MCTS: .NET Framework 4, Service Communication Applications
  3. The Exam 70-516: TS: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4 for the MCTS: .NET Framework 4, Data Access
As well as the appropriate MCPD exam, mine is Exam 70-519: PRO: Designing and Developing Web Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 4

Summary of number of exams needed
  • 1 exam to get any MCTS 
  • 3 requisite MCTS exams + 1 MCPD exam to get an MCPD

When will I be able to do the exams
Sadly the only clues as to when the exams can be done can be found here and here . On the pages it just says “Published: July 02, 2010(In development)”, not sure but I guess that can be taken to mean the exams will be ready by July 02.
For now there’s no mention of the exams on the Prometric website (they administer all Microsoft exams), so we’ll have to wait and see.

What’s the syllabus
For Exam 70-515 Towards the MCTS: .NET Framework 4, Web Applications the syllabus is
•    Developing Web Forms Pages (19%)
•    Developing and Using Web Forms Controls (18%)
•    Implementing Client-Side Scripting and AJAX (16%)
•    Configuring and Extending a Web Application (15%)
•    Displaying and Manipulating Data (19%)
•    Developing a Web Application by Using ASP.NET MVC 2 (13%)
More info here

and for exam Exam 70-519 towards the MCPD: PRO: Designing and Developing Web Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 4, the syllabus is
•    Designing the Application Architecture (19%)
•    Designing the User Experience (17%)
•    Designing Data Strategies and Structures (18%)
•    Designing Security Architecture and Implementation (17%)
•    Preparing For and Investigating Application Issues (15%)
•    Designing a Deployment Strategy (14%)
More info here

How much will it cost
It’s not on the Prometric website, so no information on pricing yet. The 2008 ones cost £80 per exam

How do I prepare
For now there are no .net framework 4.0 self training kits on the Microsoft website or anywhere on the internet for that matter (or at least the part of the internet I searched). I suppose for now one will have to use a combination of the old self training kits and .net 4.0 courses on Microsoft’s channel 9