Purpose – This paper sets out to identify key success criteria for e-business and consider emergent models which integrate the most value-adding characteristics in response to the requirements of both consumers and business organisations. Design/methodology/approach – In assessing differing models of B2C/C2C, the paper uses an adapted evaluation framework which brings together key factors identified from the literature. A Likert scale exercise undertaken enables the authors to subsequently rank models. Findings – Analysis of the results from the differing models identifies 14 primary success factors from which the paper develops a modified ontology of e-business. This is attributed to the evolving role of internet communities and social networking; the impact of “mobbing” and demand aggregation on rate of growth; and the effects of the “long tail” in differentiating markets into high-diversity short-run products. Research limitations/implications – It is recognised that the scoring exercise is based on a limited range of exemplars for each e-model, which are ranked by a relatively small panel of experts. The expertise of those participating may also have constrained the validity of the results. However, there is significant consistency between the responses from each, indicating that the results are not unrealistic. Originality/value – The paper discusses e-business from a differing view to existing literature, which considers emergent trends such as the effects of the “long tail” and “mobbing” in isolation, rather than focusing on a discussion of value chain factors per se. The authors develop a modified ontology of e-business based on a practical analysis of e-business exemplars rather than comparative studies based solely on literature reviews.