People can be hurt in an e-commerce world. The hurt is in their pocketbooks. The Internet has allowed many cyberspace merchants to open storefronts. Countless Web sites offer affiliated programs for re-sellers.

Start your own virtual server by signing up with one of the affiliated program Web sites. Your troubles may have just begun. Web space has to be sold before the re-seller can start making money. There is plenty of competition in cyberspace, and it isn't too long before the re-seller has to start cutting prices and offering more space. One day the virtual server is closed, leaving customers who did buy Web space, without a hosting server.

There is not much you can do but move to another server. You need to begin a search for another server, get the domain transferred and start again. Also many servers will charge a setup fee, and this will add cost for the move.

The fly-by-night webmaster will ask for a setup fee and generally ask for payment in advance for several months. Check with "WHOIS" about the Web-hosting server. Not long ago, one domain owner rented Web space, paid the setup fee and rent for three months. After two months, he received an e-mail that the server was shutting down without any refund for the setup fee. This kind of action puts a blemish on trust of e-commerce.

In e-commerce there is no face-to-face contact with a seller -- the only contact is electronic. Trust has to be put into e-mails and pages on the 'Net.' Will surfers ever gain enough confidence to buy from Web sites? There are well-known sites consumers can trust to purchase online. The small, unknown sites still have to overcome this lack of confidence. One well-known site which has helped gain consumers' confidence is has quite a history behind it. It was started to service the Bay area (San Francisco) as an online auction.'s popularity grew rapidly and now advertises over four million items listed with coverage worldwide. Judging from their auction numbers, there are over a million items listed each day. This makes one of the world's biggest shopping centers.

What's for sale? is the world's largest garage sale. Anybody who has visited a garage sale would know what is for sale. is becoming the greatest collectibles show on Earth. Want to see some online art, try and it's all for sale. With 'antique' is not a single word. In fact, when entering 'antique' into search engines, it will display a million items -- antique cars, furniture, books, art work- the list could go on forever.

Is any drilling equipment listed? Not drills yet, but in future this will be the way equipment will be sold. Several portable compressors and heavy trucks are listed.

Not all listings are used items; there are many listings for new products. With an opening bid price considerably under any local store purchase price, the winning bidder has to consider cost of shipping. Items bought at the auction are shipped worldwide, by the seller. It is the seller's responsibility to collect money and undertake shipping.

Other Web sites have sprung up around and feed on customers of They are helpful sites because they supply auction tips, tools to improve your auction technique, ways to collect your money, and help with shipping. uses two methods of stopping fraud, including a non-paying bidder. The first is a merit system, using feedback from the bidder and seller. The feedback generates an icon of different colors for levels of feedback rating. By looking at the icon beside the seller auction and the bidder's e-mail address, their ratings are known.

The second method is that most items on are covered by insurance, by an industry's premier insurance carrier. While most transactions are trouble-free, rest assured when fraud happens, insurance coverage can help. Here's how fraud is defined on Paying for an item and never receiving it or receiving an item that is less than what is described. An example would be bidding on a solid gold necklace but receiving a copper one instead.

As the Internet grows older, there will be more ways introduced to help build trust and confidence for purchasing on the 'Net.' Until some method of detecting what purchases should be made is developed, use your best judgment.