I continually get questions from students and startups such as: Which
email solution provider should I use? What is the best affiliate
program to launch? What about payment processing? What is the best
low-cost or free web analytics software?
These are tough questions for anyone to answer because most of us, even
internet veterans, have tried only a handful of solutions in each
category (email, affiliate, analytics, payment processing, etc.) and
often have deep experience with only one.
And today there are literally hundreds of available solutions, from
high-end enterprise solutions to entry-level solutions, including some
free services, and many, many open source solutions that are evolving
In the 90s I used to rely heavily on Dr. Ralph Wilson of WilsonWeb.com.
Since 1995 he has been reviewing solutions continually and he has
helped hundreds of thousands of people find possible answers to these
Another resource that was first published in 2005 is a *must have* for
any serious internet entrepreneur, particularly one in the ecommerce
space. It’s the 2005 Guide to E-Retailing Resources published by Internet Retailer.
This guide book lists 378 retailing solutions in the following
categories: affiliate marketing, content management,
consulting/research, customer service, delivery services, e-commerce
systems, email marketing, fulfillment services, order management,
payments processing, search marketing, site search solutions, supply
chain solutions, returns processing, web analytics, web design/hosting,
and web monitoring.
It still won’t be easy to decide which solutions to try, but the Guide
often indicates how many employees or customers a particular company
has, and who some of their key customers are.
It is still hard to integrate some of these solutions, but at least you know what many of your best options are.