These Pages are for a Focus Group in the Class on

Impact of New Information Resources: Multimedia & Networks

One-to-One Marketing Using Electronic Commerce

Effectiveness, Tools, and Ethical Issues

Electronic commerce is a fact of business life. Prodded by media hype and the quest for competitive advantage, many companies are rushing onto the Internet and into electronic commerce. While some IT organizations have reservations about taking this step for technical reasons, the decision can be a fait accompli for those on the business side. In today’s fast moving business environment, forging a direct electronic link with customers and business partners will not provide a strategic advantage for long--soon it will be a business imperative.

However, there are some serious ethical issues that arise from the emergence of Internet-based electronic commerce. Namely the issue of customer privacy versus personalized service. Technology now enables the capture of nearly every purchasing transaction that we make. The concept of data mining--or the use of sophisticated database tools--allows for companies to know more and more about our buying behavior. In business this is called one-to-one marketing and is hailed as the beginning of "mass customizaton"--the making of products or services that are tailored to each user. Additionally, every time we visit a site on the Web, our browser is telling the visited Web site information about us. Perhaps innocuous data, such as the type of computer, modem or ISP we are using, but data that nonetheless gives companies just another piece of information for them to target us with.

Are one-to-one marketing and mass customization good for consumers? When will companies know too much about us? Will there be a backlash against companies that try to provide us with customized products without our asking? Is this a violation of our privacy? These are some of the issues that our focus group wishes to examine.

Our group meets in the Haas Courtyard from 1:15 - 2:15 pm Tuesdays.

Members of the Group

Suggested Readings and Relevant Links

Movie Reviews

War of the Worlds

THX 1138

Article Reviews

Meeting Minutes