Privacy Issues

Published 10 Oct 2017

If the customers agree that a web site, or any business from any industry, has an implied ethical contract with its users, the customers would expect the web site to communicate truthfully to the users and be up front about all of its practices related to the gathering and use of personal information. Deceptiveness on the part of the web site would undeniably violate the rule as well as the contract. Sometimes, however, web sites that have opt-policies will change the way they wish to use the data. Most internet users and privacy advocates find this to be deceptive in that the web site does not approach the customers beforehand to give notice of policy changes and ask permission regarding the use of data and personal information for new purposes. In this scenario, the question lies on the ethical obligation and ethical contract of a certain web site in the use of data without the permission of the users.

This case happened to Yahoo, when the popular web portal suddenly switched from an opt-in to opt-out privacy policy. A short statement inside a long e-mail message about Yahoo’s commitment to privacy protection notified customers that the company would change the personal settings of the users to indicate that they want to receive marketing messages via telephone or email. All users, even those who had previously refused to accept marketing messages, were told that they had specific period of time to change their preferences back to its original setting, which they could do by manually clicking the button “no” on products listed on a promotional enrolment page.

Apparently, most users found this process very inconsistent and even complained regarding the unfair distribution of company of the personal information of the users for business purposes. Most users have been very careful with the information being given to the web sites due to some conflicts like stealing of identity and receiving unnecessary advertisements from known and unknown marketers. However, the Yahoo users continue to receive promotions and strange messages from different people as well as organizations.

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The modernity of the world today has undeniably brought people to another era that makes them conform to the flow brought about by technology and popular culture. This fact is one of the reasons why people easily engage with different activities online. Some users pay attention to smallest details in the internet; however some of them just click everything they see on screen. One thing that makes these two categories similar is that, none of them wants to be bothered by series of advertisements and random promotions on email or other services of such internet portals.

Yahoo must be very careful with the rules and regulations that they impose on any type of service that the company offers to the market. The constant changing society and the past pacing technology only relies on investment, meaning reputation and good customer relations are the only things that make the customers loyal to a single brand. The corporation should be more specific with its contract to be able to avoid legal issues in the future. With the intense competition in the marketplace, the company should invest on customer relations by providing good and quality service aside from profit that Yahoo gains from advertisers.

Visiting a search engine without noticing an offer for free mail account is definitely impossible. Yahoo is one of those web sites that offer free registration in order to get free email address and access to other Yahoo services. Basically, most companies in e-commerce offer this type of service as a value add, meaning they entice the visitors with the relatively inexpensive service and still hoping to receive some sort of benefit to the users’ visit. These benefits include generating profit by selling the users product from advertisers or another related service, increasing the hit count, proving the site’s popularity to advertising agencies, and providing an e-mail as part of an attempt to become an internet portal, which is simply a site that purports to give easy access to all that the internet offers.

Unlike the first dilemma, that focuses on privacy issues, this issue points out plain consumerism. Internet has become a community where plain consumerism through influential demands takes place. Each page is loaded with advertising banners of numerous products and services. Customers may click each ad to go to a specific link where the certain product or service is being sold. In some instance, the advertisements pop up, blocking the desired page to attract the attention of the potential customers of the product. Yahoo offers free service; however, it sells more products than the free services that customers enjoy with that certain web site.

The ethical obligation of Yahoo and other internet portals to the world has been in the heart of debate of the society. Most people believe that along with the free offers of each company come the constant promotions for unnecessary goods. It is like availing a certain product only to find out that the customers already deal with countless marketers in the market. In other words, the company often overlooks the social responsibility which should guide them to provide enough information and proper promotion in a less aggressive approach.

The company should always consider its mission and social responsibility. Yahoo has billions of customers worldwide, making them exposed to different types of people from different market segments everyday. Advertising serves as the supplier for Yahoo, meaning the company operates because of them; however, the company must always understand that the customers are also one of the most important elements in their business operation. Without customers, there will be no advertisers, and vice versa. This cycle shows how important each element of Yahoo’s business operation is for the company’s success.

Yahoo needs to evaluate the proper use and appropriate process of advertising for the target audiences. Internet portals, being the most effective marketing communication channels today may also shape the culture of the society as a whole. It means the company should serve both significant elements of the business but the power over proper presentation still lies on the management of the corporation. A better environment without too much consumerism should be considered aside from high profitability nowadays.

Yahoo had been in an intense competition with Google, the world’s largest internet portal today. The company competed head-to-head with Google in search and paid listings. Further, most of the Yahoo’s products had direct rivals at Google including Yahoo local search, home page, video, mail, and maps. Yahoo constantly introduces new features for the customers in order to reach the market share of Google. Yahoo even released new features that offer free template websites for small businesses to gain local customers. This product made critics conclude that Yahoo is working harder to understand the needs of small businesses than Google is. Apparently, the significance of providing better service and options for listings and placements is overridden by the importance of search market share (Goodman, 2005).

Competition has been the greatest threat for the company today. With the existence of other corporations aside from Google in the global market, Yahoo have felt the need to develop strategic plans to stay in the marketplace and stay ahead in the competition. As Google continuously rises in the market, Yahoo needs to strive harder in order to fight the impacts of rivalry that affect the entire business operation.

Yahoo does not need to work on recognition; its popularity in the marketplace has been enough to make the company profitable in industry. Until today, most of the services of Yahoo are known and being used by the customers around the world, one proof that the company has not yet lost all the possibility to shrink in the emerging market. The company needs to develop new services that would attract the attention of the target market. Moreover, Yahoo should evaluate the market’s needs and reorganize its business plan based on the demands of the customers from different parts of the world. As the company produces new services for the target users, Yahoo could start to establish strong relationship with the businesses from different industries. These plans would not only boost the profit of the company but also build a strong brand name and good reputation in the global market.


  • Goodman, A. (2005). Winning Results with Google AdWords. USA: McGraw-Hill
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