Ethics and Marketing…Is it Possible?

User Data Collection. Image Firefox and IE are even @ N01/637693360

User Data Collection. Image Firefox and IE are even @ N01/637693360

Data Collection Everywhere

We all know our data is being taken and stored for some further use from one site to the next. When we click the like button on Facebook, when we enter a contest, when we subscribe to…really anything, your information is being used.

Companies have fallen to a new low. It was not enough that we are inundated with advertisements in our snail mail box or email account. It was not enough that after visiting sites, our advertising banners show up with items that we most recently looked for online.

By far the most disturbing latest marketing strategy involves companies charging people differently for the exact same item based on where the consumer lives in relation to the other competitive stores in their region.

The Wall Street Journal broke the story with Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users’ Information on December 24, 2012. They found several companies (Staples, Discover Financial Services, Rosetta Stone, Office Max and Office Depot) consistently varied their prices with a formula involving user browser history and geological locations.

Yet this practice of changing prices according to a user’s browser history has been going on for quite some time. Travel agencies have been known to do this frequently. They will show a lower price for an airfare the first time on their site versus the next time you go back on.

Luckily, many travel experts have been sharing insider tips. The Top 10 Secrets of Travel Agents to Save You Money by suggests clearing your browser history and cache before searching for travel deals.

The Wall Street Journal noted the practice of price management via user information is legal. But is it really ethical when a person 5 miles away from you is paying a different price for the same product at the same time at the same place? Indiana University offers an informational page on how to clear your browser and cache or a great visual step-by-step tutorial can be found at


About thewritegirlforthejob

During college, I began my writing career as a reporter for a newspaper. After graduating with honors in 2004, I continued my journalism and public relations education at Barry University and Empire State College(graduating with a BA). As a freelance writer, I have over 100+ published works and have had the honor of authoring the commissioned book, History Restored. Since starting my writing career, I've edited more books for authors rather than complete my own - since work comes first before I have the pleasure to write. I've been very lucky to be given the gift of having a very supportive family that has allowed me to share my passion of creating and writing and can already see my youngest wanting a page of her own soon.
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