VIA on-line sales chug along

In a recent announcement, VIA Rail Canada revealed that the number of train trips booked on-line through its site increased in the year 2000, totalling over $8 million for that year. VIA also noted that the number of e-mails it receives has gone up significantly, as well as the number of reservations made on-line. For comparison, the train company offered the following information: December 2000 saw sales exceeding $800,000, which was more than 100 per cent higher than December 1999. VIA began its on-line adventure in 1997, when it became the first passenger rail company to offer bookings on-line, according to the company. It launched its next e-commerce initiative last year – VIA eSchedule – enabling travellers to access train schedules through the Palm OS.

AXXENT enters a new domain

Toronto-based CLEC AXXENT Inc. last month launched a new on-line service for customers who want to register a domain name. QuickDomain is a self-serve domain name registration service, according to AXXENT, allowing users to have the registration process completed within a matter of minutes. The service provides on-line verification and registration for domain types such as .com., .ca, .net and .org. It also plans to add .biz, .info and .name, as well as others, to the list of offerings as they become available.

Blockbuster deal goes bust

The deal between Blockbuster Inc. and Enron Broadband Services to offer movies to television via high-speed Internet connections has been terminated, the companies announced last month. The partnership was originally announced last July, when the companies said they would be entering a 20-year deal to provide the services to customers. According to Enron, the deal went sour because Blockbuster was working to slowly to get movie studios to sign on and license their movies for the offering. Blockbuster, however, is reported as saying that it was having difficulties with the studios due to security concerns. The video rental chain is currently testing the on-demand service in four U.S. cities – Seattle, Portland, New York City and American Fork, Utah – and said that it will continue with these trials. Blockbuster has also indicated that it will continue to work on the video on-demand project.

FBI’s most wanted: a million credit card numbers

According to the FBI, over a million credit card numbers have been stolen in the past year from U.S. Web sites by organized hacker groups in Russia and the Ukraine. The information was released by Investigators at the National Infrastructure Protection Center – the FBI’s cyber crimes division – which warned that hackers are using well-known holes in their targets’ Web sites and transaction software. The FBI is advising companies to be more vigilant in protecting their data and in fixing well-known security holes. While there has been an increase in thefts of credit card numbers in the U.S., there has also been an increase in the fraudulent use of credit cards in Russia. According to the FBI, hundreds of companies have fallen victim, and there are currently more than 40 ongoing investigations in 20 states.

Sweden stays connected

In a recent International Data Corp. Society Index, which assesses countries’ abilities to absorb information and IT, Sweden landed in first place ahead of Canada and the U.S. According to statistics, there are approximately 4 million Swedes using the Internet from both work and home each month – a number that has grown from 3 million at the beginning of 1999. By 2005, that figure is expected to be closer to 5 million. There are many reasons behind the country’s high numbers, but there is one area on the Swedish Internet that is still not being used to its potential – government sites. While the country offers many, very localized services in hundreds of local administrative districts, the offices are generally only open for about two hours per day. There is, however, the ability for Swedes to do their taxes, reserve a book at the library and even book their children into kindergarten on-line.