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Cornell Graduate Student Avid Amiri ’02 Investigates Ecommerce Landscape

In the summer of 2001 Avid Amiri, a graduate student at the Johnson School of Business at Cornell University, began research on the emerging opportunities within the internet space. His research involved analysis of the top 100 etailing firms, including,, and others to better understand the business models supporting these companies and the technology undergirding their web platforms. Amiri also investigated leading “mom and pop” ecommerce firms to evaluate strengths of these smaller companies and the traffic strategies that were most successful.

His research was shared with colleagues as well as faculty and discussed within the context of a new breed of entrepreneurship, namely ecommerce entrepreneurship. Amiri’s central contention was that in a manner inconsistent with previous economic changes, the primary driver for success online was intellectual as opposed to capital. Where previous economic changes involved high capital intensity, within the online realm knowledge and intellectual capital were paramount for success. Companies involving a drop ship model where freed from the historical restraints of warehousing and order fulfillment, often the most expensive part of a new retail operation.

Avid Amiri also concentrated on the role and importance of search engine optimization, an area of the web which he believe will separate strong an d sustainable ecommerce companies from firms that will experience diminishing profitability over time, as advertising and marketing costs online continue to escalate. Amiri asserts that ecommerce “real estate” defined as natural search positioning will take on a new economic value and will fortify valuations for ecommerce businesses within the next decade. He has performed detailed regression analysis of over 1000 small to mid sized ecommerce firms and has seen a strong covariance between the success of these companies and their natural search positioning.

Originally from Utah, Amiri had seen other Utah internet businesses burgeon since the onset of the internet revolution, companies like Authorizenet et al and felt like while these were strong business models, they were models that could be improved upon. Amiri continues to discuss these topics with colleagues and plans on further research over the next year.


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