Today most of the research is done online. The data is collected online and it is processed online. From a broader social view point, internet marketing practices have raised a number of ethical and legal questions. There are certain negatives associated with internet such as unwanted e-mail and the annoyance of pop- up ads.
Online privacy is perhaps the number-one e- commerce concern. Most e-marketers have become skilled at collecting and analyzing detailed consumer information. Marketers can easily track Web site visitors, and many consumers who participate in Web site activities provide extensive personal information. This may leave consumers open to information abuse if companies make unauthorized use of the information in marketing their products or exchanging data bases with other companies.
Many consumers and policy makers worry that marketers have stepped over the line and are violating consumer’s right to privacy. Many consumers also worry about online security. They fear that unscrupulous snoopers will eavesdrop on their online transactions or intercept their credit card numbers and make unauthorized purchases. In turn, companies doing business or marketing research on line fear that others will use the internet to invade their computer systems for the purpose of commercial espionage or even sabotage. There appears to be an ongoing competition between the technology of internet security systems and the sophistication of those seeking to break them.
Beyond issues of online privacy and security, consumers are also concerned about Internet fraud, including identity theft, investment fraud, and financial scams.