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Internet Retailing celebrates as ecommerce turns 18

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Ecommerce turns 18 this year, and to celebrate its coming of age Internet Retailing is to hold the first ever ecommerce Birthday Party Awards. Some 350 industry leaders and award winers will be at the event, held to mark stellar achievements.

The first recorded ecommerce transaction took place in 1994. According to legend, the first secure ecommerce transaction took place on August 11 of that year, on NetMarket, when one of founder Daniel Kohn’s bought the CD of Ten Summoner’s Tales by Sting for $12.48. However others claim that The Internet Shopping Network, which started selling computer equipment online that year, beat NetMarket by about a month.

We’re splitting the difference and marking the coming of age on July 18 when we will host the inaugural Internet Retailing Birthday Party Awards (BPA) at London’s Cannon Street Roof Gardens.

Eighteen years from that first transaction, the industry certainly is coming of age. Some €6 trillion a year now changes hands each year through ecommerce, according to recent comments by the European Commission’s vice president for digital agenda, Neelie Kroes in Brussels. Time then to celebrate.

“Many creative, wealth-generating industries like film and fashion benefit from established signature events, such as the Oscars and its Vanity Fair party,” said Ian Jindal, editor-in-chief of Internet Retailing. “This 18th birthday year is the right time for ecommerce to begin a comparable tradition. The Birthday Party Awards will become an annual event, celebrating the industry’s best achievements and its leading innovators.”

The BPA will echo the spirit of the internet, said Jindal, by ensuring the awards are as inclusive, far-reaching and meritorious as possible, drawing in industry bodies, media and experts. “The evening will belong to the outstanding high achievers and new upstarts that make ecommerce one of today’s most existing and dynamic sectors,” he said.

The evening will feature six awards. The Coming of Age Award will be given for successful long-term performance, the Newborn Award for the best recent launch or transformation. The Turnaround Award is for improvement through online innovation, and the Innovation & Inspiration Award for the most envied or emulated business.

The two remaining awards will be revealed following further consultation with the BPA Advisory Board, which includes retailers, entrepreneurs, industry leaders, sponsors and expert partners. The board will also finalise the BPA guest list. Further details of its membership will be released in May 2012.

To sponsor an award to discuss corporate support for the BPA, please contact Andy James ( or Rob Prevett (

As well as this website Internet Retailing publishes a magazine and organises the high-level Internet Retailing Conference and annual Internet Retailing Expo.

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