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“Ethical issues in internet marketing practices”

CYBER MARKETING RESEARCH PAPER “Ethical issues in internet marketing practices” Submitted by: Nadir Hassan Muhammad shareef

Submitted by:

Nadir Hassan Muhammad shareef

Roll No:





Submitted to:

Sir Noman Malik

Ethical issues of internet marketing practices


This paper basically tries to explore the ethical issues of internet marketing practice, which is now practicing all around the world. There are so many ethical issues concern with the internet marketing practices which has adversely not only effect an individual but has also creating an adverse impact on the society. Every individual should have to be responsible in this matter while practicing internet marketing practices on the internet ,otherwise we can hardly survive our society from increasing of such unethical practices.


The main purpose of this article is to identify some examples of ethical issues that have emerged as a result of internet marketing and also have to thoroughly explain their advantages and limitations of these internet marketing practices.

Key words:

The main key words or ethical issues of internet marketing practices that have been discussed in this article are popup, cookies file, spasm, fraud, privacy, online marketing to children, websites unlabeled as advertising and also other ethical issues like conflict of interest etc.


In today’s growing economy e-commerce is a major business opportunity for a businessman to do their business by using internet technology. Although doing business online has brought a revolutionary changes in the field of business, but no matter how much beneficial it would be it has also left a negative impact on the society i.e. ethical issues. As today’s online business ethical issues are a major dilemma for a customer and a particular businessman. as this article reviews the unpredictable growth of ethical issues of internet marketing practices that have been emerged. There are various sorts of ethical issues which are flattering around the online business among them few of them are like security concern, spamming, website that do not carry an advertisement level, online marketing to children, conflicts of interest, cookie file, fraud, mass customization and privacy etc these have been discussed in detail in the literature review section. many of the experts are of the view that some of these will get easily be resoled because of both the actual or perceived exposure to and reaction from the public or market and some of these remained unresolved, however, in today’s word technology is changing rapidly which brings new products and services in the market accompanied by new strategies and new marketing practices in order to sell them, because of this new ethical issues are also emerging in a rapid way.

Literature review:

Internet marketing practices plays a great role in promoting a company’s product or services, but because of not having a clear knowledge and a deeper analysis about the ethical practices of internet marketing many of the customers considered these practices to be unethical, which is not true, yes there are some types of practices which are unethical in nature .the main point that we need to be understand is to analyze a deeper analysis about these practices .following are the most important and most practicing of internet marketing practices.


Spamming involves sending unsolicited messages to e-mail users, spamming occurs when e-mail users are confronted with unused information about different products and services.” flaming” occurs when such email recipients respond to the unsolicited message. If many of the recipients reply the spammer’s server may be shutdown. According to a polled 1200 interface users for the coalition against these unused commercial e-mails. These users receive an average 24.11 e-mail messages per day, 35 percent of which they considered to be as spam. Fifty six percent said they appreciated e-mail from companies with those whom the have built a relationship and the remaining 24 percent were neutral. It does not mean that the sender is trying to abuse someone, but indeed, often the attempt by a consumer to opt out of receiving further email is used by the sender as a way of confirming the legitimacy of the consumer’s computer address and result in the person receiving more spam in the future.


Privacy is basically “the condition of not having undocumented personal knowledge about ones possessed things by others” (parent, 1983, p.216).privacy has been and continues to be a significant ethical issues of internet marketing for both current and prospective e-commerce customers. Many of the business on internet get flop just because of such privacy problem

Popup and cookies:

The common use of pop ups is to advertise products or services to the person viewing a website although pop up is not any thing that goes beyond the ethics ,but it is the practitioners who are making and has miss used these internet marketing practices. It is certain to say that it is not considered to be an unethical practice, but it all depends upon the nature of the product to be advertised .similarly cookies which are small files placed on a users computer by a third party entity when that person is browsing websites on the internet such cookies record various information about the user that is later retrieved by the computer that placed them on the users site. While there are lots of uses for cookies and a number of types of information that they can be used to retrieve, they are commonly used in e-commerce to store database information, customize page settings, or otherwise make a site unique to a specific user. Cookies are some times placed by third parties to collect information about a user’s preferences or browsing habits. This

information, in turn, can be distributed widely and easily on the internet to other companies who can turn use it to market other goods and services to these consumers. The basic principles behind the use of cookies involves the ability of business to place files or program on consumers computers to collect data about those consumers in ways that are often unique to the user and or difficult for them to control. so having briefly viewed the nature of some of the marketing practices that have strong concern from internet users, we can now see that by and large the ethical issues surrounding these practices cannot be readily viewed in terms of common ethical topics that discussion of marketing ethics have focused upon in the past .

Web sites unlabeled as advertising:

In today’s online business it has observed that Most of the commercial web sites carry no label indicating that they are the creating of advertising departments and agencies ,while most of the TV and Print media do this. according to a survey report which was conducted by “” it is stated that there are 30 percent of website are those on which unethical practice like unlabeled advertising is practicing which is an alarming situation for online business. So it all depends upon the users of the site to check unlabeled advertising in order to make these practices completely ethical.

Online marketing to children:

Online marketing to children is now also an emerging unethical practice which is practicing on the internet. When children are asked to provide personal information to make a purchase, abuse can occur. The federal trade commission has issued rules implementing the children’s online privacy protection act (COPPA), which takes effect April 2005.COPPA outlines basic privacy rights for children under 13 and their parents on the internet. The notice of the parent must contain the same information included on the notice on the web site .an operator must notify a parent

That it wishes to collect personal information from the child

That the parents verifiable consent is required for the collection

About the use and disclosure of the information

How the parent can provide consent

The notice to parents must be clearly written. An operator may use any one of a number of methods to notify a parent, including sending an mail to to the parent or a notice by postal mail.

Other ethical issues:

In contrast to the above mentioned ethical issues of internet marketing there are also some other ethical issues as well which is severely affecting the internet users and online customers. Among the other ethical issues conflict of interest and manufactures competing with intermediaries online are the most common one.


Having briefly viewed the nature of some of the marketing practices that have strong concern from internet users I have tried to explore some of the ethical issues of internet marketing practices which is very common on internet and have also highlighted there importance and limitations. No matter internet marketing practice if, act in a positive way will prove to be a positive impact on the individual and the society too, if they are miss used then it will severely affect the whole society as well. In short, we can conclude that all the ethical issues presented in this article are all real .some ethical issues will get easily be resolved because of both the actual or perceived exposure to and reaction from the public or market and sometimes from the customers; however, rapidly changing technology is continuously bringing new products and services to the market accompanied by new strategies and internet marketing practice, therefore, we may also conclude that new ethical issues will emerge. We may ask if the power of the internet itself to spotlight issues will be a significant force in providing a kind of “self regulation” that supports an ethical internet marketing environment.


Anders, G: 1999(July 12),’Buying Frenzy’, the wall street journal, R6-


Journals of business ethics, vol.34, No. 22 (Nov., 2001), pp.75-85 Journals of business ethics,vol.58,No.1/3,promoting Business ethics (Apr-May, 2005), pp.271-280