Differences in Ethical, Legal, Regulatory Issues in B2B vs. B2C Environment

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  • Topic: Electronic commerce, Marketing, Privacy
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  • Published : June 10, 2007
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Differences in Ethical, Legal, and Regulatory Issues in
Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer Web Sites

Like traditional brick-and-mortar establishments, business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) Web sites face ethical, legal, and regulatory concerns. Although both B2B and B2C sites share similarities in web-based jurisdictional issues and general ethical considerations, each site has its own specific concerns due to the end-user relationship of the consumer versus business (Schneider, 2004). Whether the end-user is a business or consumer, there is usually a transaction or sale of a particular product or service. Since the Internet launches online business into the global marketplace, businesses should be aware of different ethical, legal, and regulatory issues to avoid potential e-commerce liability.

Ethical Considerations

Ethics are part of a moral code that deems actions right or wrong. Businesses often strive to conduct operations in a professional, ethical, and legal manner. Schneider (2004) comments that, "companies using Web sites to conduct electronic commerce should adhere to the same ethical standards that other businesses follow…if they do not, they will suffer the damaged reputation and long-term loss of trust that can result in loss of business" (p. 306). Since businesses abide by similar ethical standards, both B2B and B2C Web sites prove similar in terms of expectations of desired ethical conduct.

In the B2B realm, ethical considerations exist between businesses (Schneider, 2004). An example of an ethical situation in the B2B relationship might be one business taking a kickback from another. Schneider (2004) discussed the issue of Amazon.com taking payments from book publishers. Another situation that falls under the B2B relationship regards the resolution of potential issues or problems with a business partner. For example, in Lane's Gifts v. Google, Google established a "cost per click" program for...
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