Chapter 4. E-Commerce with Google Checkout

In This Chapter

  • Understanding e-commerce and Google Checkout

  • Determining whether you should use Google Checkout

  • Exploring Google Checkout's features

  • Signing up for Google Checkout

  • Adding a Buy Now button to your Web site

With Google Gadgets, as described in the previous chapter, you can achieve the dream of adding programs — even customized ones — to your Web site. Google Checkout helps you pursue an even bigger dream, one that's been even more out of reach: adding e-commerce.

E-commerce has a rich and checkered history. Amazon.com is the archetypal example of a successful e-commerce site — and has, in fact, helped a lot of other, smaller e-commerce businesses through its Amazon Marketplace partnerships.

But for every Amazon.com, there are several examples like Pets.com. Pets.com was intended to be an online store for pet food. It never took off; somehow the expense of paying perhaps $20 for shipping a $20 bag of dog food didn't appeal to many people.

Dreams of e-commerce riches can make success seem so easy; yet it can be so hard.

The stopping point for many of those dreams was that people didn't have the time, money, or expertise to build an e-commerce system for their site — an expenditure that, in the early days of the Web, could reach or exceed $1 million. Now, with Google Checkout, you can get an even better, more trusted capability nearly free.

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