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ethical practices and the protection of customer data

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What is the relationship between ethical practices and the protection of customer data in an eBusiness?

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Solution Summary

A correlation between ethical practices and the protection of customer data is given.

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Ethics is the study of moral principles that guide conduct. There are two schools of thought on the study of ethics in marketing:
• 'Let the buyer beware' - this point of view says that the right of the seller is the central view. A company using this view has little regard for consumer's needs and wants.
• 'Let the seller beware' - in this view, customer satisfaction may be taken to the extreme. No matter what the customer does, it is OK.
Ethicists believe that Relationship Marketing is a reasonable practice that leads to positive relationships between buyers and sellers. Relationship marketing allows buyers and seller to work together. This disadvantage is that this takes time to develop and may be difficult to develop.
Marketers must be aware of ethical standards and acceptable behavior. This means that marketers must recognize that there are three viewpoints: the company, the industry and society. When there is a difference between the needs of the three aforementioned groups, a conflict may arise. Ethical conflicts may also arise when one's personal values conflict with the organization. Ethical dilemmas facing marketing professionals today generally fall into three categories: tobacco and alcohol promotion, consumer privacy and green marketing.
Standards for ethical marketing tend to guide business in efforts to do the right thing. There are four functions of these standards: to help identify acceptable practices, foster internal control, avoid confusion and facilitate a basis for discussion.
The American Marketing Association has identified the following rules to guide marketing behavior:
1. Responsibility of the marketer - accept responsibility for the consequences of their activities and make every effort to ensure that their decision, recommendations and actions function to identify, serve and satisfy all relevant publics: customers, organizations and society.
2. Honesty and fairness - uphold and advance the integrity, honor and dignity of the marketing profession.
3. Rights and duties in the marketing exchange process - participants should be able to expect that products and services are safe and fit for intended uses, that communications about the offered product is not deception, that all parties intend to honor their obligations in good faith, and that internal methods exist for equitable adjustment and/or redress.
4. Organizational relationships - marketers should be aware of how their behavior influences the behavior of others in organizational relationship. They should not demand, encourage or apply coercion to encourage unethical behavior in the relationship with others.
One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the World Wide Web is its interactivity. Visitors interact with a Web site - and as they do, the web site usually gathers information about the visitor. Some personal information is overtly gathered through requests for personal information. Studies show that over 90% of Web sites aimed at consumers collect at lest some personal information and more than 55% collect at least some demographic information.
Privacy is an emotional issue for many people. Many people are disturbed when they first learn of the level to which their on-line activities have been monitored and feel a sense of loss of control. The information that is gathered has commercial value to Web site operators, advertising agencies and others.
Many privacy concerns arise as a result of the use of "cookies". Cookies are small bits of code or software that is usually stored on a visitor's computer hard drive. Cookies contain code that will be sent from the visitor's computer to the web site the next time the visitor returns to the web site, thereby, providing the web site with information about the visitor. The name cookie derives from UNIX objects called magic cookies. These are tokens that are attached to a user or program and change depending on the areas entered by the user or program. Cookies are also called persistent cookies because they typically stay in the browser for long period of time. By retrieving a previously stored cooked, the web site may be able to monitor the activities of the visitor.
A few of the technologies that support E-Commerce are as follows: electronic data ...

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