Ethics in E-Marketing: A Marketing Mix Perspective

Ethics in E-Marketing: A Marketing Mix Perspective

Erkan Özdemir (Uludag University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-615-5.ch008
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Some of the ethical issues experienced in traditional marketing practices are encountered in those of e-marketing as well. However, e-marketing practices raise specific new and different ethical issues as well. For instance, new forms of dynamic pricing, spam email advertising, and the use of tracking cookies for commercial purposes have all raised ethical issues. These issues can be examined from the perspective of such components of the traditional marketing mix as product, price, place and promotion, which are under the control of marketing executives. As such, an awareness of the ethical issues in e-marketing under the control of marketing executives is central to the realization of an ethical climate in e-businesses. The aim of this chapter is to present a critical analysis of ethical issues in e-commerce in relation to the marketing mix. The topics discussed within this framework will be enlightening for the ethical decision making process and practices of e-marketing.
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As use of the Internet becomes more widespread, businesses are taking advantage of this media to reach prospective customers and offer them products and services. While some businesses conduct part of their activities on the Internet, others carry out nearly all of their business transactions over the Internet. Therefore, e-marketing currently constitutes a significant part of marketing activities of businesses (Krishnamurthy, 2006). Indeed, it is no longer a choice, but in fact has become a necessity for businesses to engage in e-commerce. The Internet now represents a market place that exists in tandem with more traditional markets. This alternative shopping environment is drawing many businesses onto the online world and, as such, the competition on the Internet is inevitably increasing (Kim & Kim, 2004). However along with new opportunities for commerce, the Internet, as a new business environment, also brings along new opportunities for unethical behavior. Further, the global aspect of the internet makes it difficult to implement legal codes, since e-commerce spans national jurisdictions. As such, it becomes all the more important for businesses to establish ethical codes on issues and to train their employees in ethical decision making.

Ethical issues typically discussed in relation to in e-business include information security, privacy, and intellectual property (Caudill & Murphy, 2000; Foxman & Kilcoyne, 1993; Franzak et al., 2001; Kelly & Rowland, 2000; Maury & Kleiner, 2002; Milne, 2000; Rodin, 2001; and Stead & Gilbert, 2001). In addition to these commonly discussed topics, the competitive nature of e-business also raises a number of ethical issues specific to marketing. Indeed, the business function in which unethical practices are most likely to be recurrent in e-businesses is that of marketing. Marketing, the most important outward looking department of businesses, unlike the other business functions, mediates between consumers, shareholders, suppliers and other stakeholders. This external role of marketing and stakeholder pressures cause unethical practices to emerge more in marketing (Chonko, 1995). Therefore, the managers most likely to face ethical dilemmas are those involved in marketing. The same is true in the context of e-businesses as well. It is because businesses that transfer their own practices onto the internet have chances to reach more online consumers that intense competition continues to be the case in the medium of internet as well. Factors such as the features unique to e-commerce, the intense competition on internet, the insufficiency of the regulations regarding the internet, information security, and privacy also contribute to the rise of the ethical dilemmas of e-marketing executives who take on the role of customer representatives within the business.

Marketers can only build mutual valuable relationships with their customers through the process of confidence-based cooperation. E-businesses that create and nurture trust may make it more likely for online customers to visit their web sites again (Dayal et al., 1999). Some of the studies done on this subject also justify this particular suggestion. For instance, in their study, Roman and Cuestas (2008) found that in comparison to traditional shopping, when online consumers perceived higher risks, they were less willing to do online purchasing. Another interesting result in their study is related to the fact that the experienced internet users were better at distinguishing “ethical” web sites in comparison to inexperienced ones. In another study, Roman (2007) found that security, privacy, non-deception and fulfillment/reliability were the powerful predictors of satisfaction and trust of online consumers. Therefore, the establishment of trust is essential to successful e-businesses.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Maurice Hamington
Daniel E. Palmer
Chapter 1
Daniel E. Palmer
The growth of various forms of e-business, from Internet sales and marketing to online financial processing, has been exponential in recent years.... Sample PDF
The Transformative Nature of E-Business: Business Ethics and Stakeholder Relations on the Internet
Chapter 2
Susan Emens
The advent of the internet and the subsequent growth in e-business has forced organizations to think beyond the traditional business model and... Sample PDF
The New Paradigm of Business on the Internet and Its Ethical Implications
Chapter 3
Eric M. Rovie
Commerce performed electronically using the Internet (e-commerce) faces a unique and difficult problem, the anonymity of the Internet. Because the... Sample PDF
The Anonymity of the Internet: A Problem for E-Commerce and a “Modified” Hobbesian Solution
Chapter 4
Andrew Terjesen
E-business offers an opportunity to create markets that transcend the “real-world” limitations on markets. However, E-business transactions carry an... Sample PDF
Anonymity and Trust: The Ethical Challenges of E-Business Transactions
Chapter 5
Leonard I. Rotman
E-commerce has experienced a meteoric rise from technological curiosity to substantive institution in little more than a decade of meaningful... Sample PDF
Trust, Loyalty, and ECommerce
Chapter 6
Abe Zakhem
Where others have remarked on the possible fiduciary regulation of e-commerce in general, this chapter makes a more specific and demanding normative... Sample PDF
E-Business Goes Mobile: A Fiduciary Framework for Regulating Mobile Location Based Services
Chapter 7
J. J. Sylvia
A/B and multivariate website optimization may not seem ethically problematic at first blush; however, in this chapter I will consider some of the... Sample PDF
The Ethical Implications of A/B and Multivariate E-Commerce Optimization Testing
Chapter 8
Erkan Özdemir
Some of the ethical issues experienced in traditional marketing practices are encountered in those of e-marketing as well. However, e-marketing... Sample PDF
Ethics in E-Marketing: A Marketing Mix Perspective
Chapter 9
Mary Lyn Stoll
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is highly valuable for transnational corporations, but entails special requirements of heightened honesty in... Sample PDF
Moral Guidelines for Marketing Good Corporate Conduct Online
Chapter 10
Kirsten Martin
The underlying concept of privacy has not changed for centuries, but our approach to acknowledging privacy in our transactions, exchanges, and... Sample PDF
Privacy Revisited: From Lady Godiva’s Peeping Tom to Facebook’s Beacon Program
Chapter 11
D. E. Wittkower
As digital media give increasing power to users—power to reproduce, share, remix, and otherwise make use of content—businesses based on content... Sample PDF
Against Strong Copyright in E-Business
Chapter 12
Matt Hettche
While the Internet is generally regarded as a tool of consumer empowerment, recent innovations in e-marketing signal a disparity in the quality of... Sample PDF
A Case for Consumer Virtual Property
Chapter 13
James Brian Coleman
One of the most noticeable features of online business transactions in the United States is the absence of a sales tax on interstate purchases.... Sample PDF
Fairness and the Internet Sales Tax: A Contractarian Perspective
Chapter 14
Fernando A.A. Lagraña
E-mail has become the most popular communication tool in the professional environment. Electronic communications, because of their specific nature... Sample PDF
Ethical Issues Arising from the Usage of Electronic Communications in the Workplace
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