Show and Tell

Share your Mobile Marketing and Mobile Website Critique blog posts.

Final Project

Overview of the requirements for your final project.

Blurred Lines Between Screens

In the future, users might make little distinction between the various Internet-connected devices in their lives. From watches to TV screens, users will expect to have a rich experience of sight, sound, and motion. Designing websites and marketing messages for this vast range of screens will be a challenge for years to come.

Part of creating an ethical website is making it accessible to everyone.

Video: Luke Wroblewski: From the Front Lines of Multi-Device Web Design [38:35]

Ethical Considerations

Marketing on the Internet is growing faster than its regulation. Online marketing can include many abusive, misleading, and unethical practices. Today we will review a number of ethical considerations that marketers must consider.

Misleading Messages vs. Internet Free Speech

Some marketing messages have become notorious for misleading the public.

Video: Top 10 Misleading Marketing Tactics [12:35]

Social media and search sites try to reduce misleading marketing messages—via user reporting systems. But plenty of junk still gets through.

ethical considerations - misleading marketing online


As a consumer online and offline, how do you detect when ads are attempting to lie to or manipulate you?


Marketers can collect, store, and distribute more data about consumers than ever before. Much of this information is personal data. Personal data is collected when we purchase items online. It’s collected when we request access to dynamic websites. It’s collected when we ask for quotes on cars, insurance, or loans. The content of two-way marketing conversations is stored.

The initial purpose of this data collection is to follow up and make a sale, or to track our activity across a website, or from site to site. But the data is then retained for an unknown amount of time.

Consumers rarely know or consider how much personal information is being recorded, store, and shared. We generally trust vendors and marketers to keep it out of the wrong hands.

To reinforce this trust, it is in the best interest of marketers to let consumers access, edit, and delete their personal data. In some cases, it is illegal for companies to continue sending communications after an individual has asked for it to stop.

Selling Personal Data

Should online marketers share or sell the personal data they collect? Many companies pay a lot for consumer data that fits their sales profiles.

infoUSA consumer mailing lists for sale

infoUSA consumer mailing lists for sale

infoUSA consumer data collection and aggregation

infoUSA consumer data collection and aggregation

Several governments have stepped in to protect consumers.

Video: “FTC urges more online privacy protection from data brokers” (PBS, June 2014) [8:02]

What’s a Marketer To Do?

Sometimes the sharing and selling of personal data benefits the consumer. For example, it can get them in touch with companies and products that uniquely meet their needs.

The best ethical position for online marketers is to:

  • make each consumer aware of the information that the company holds
  • give the consumer significant control over it
  • never share or sell it without their knowledge

Most businesses include privacy policies on their websites.


Peruse the privacy policy on Adobe’s website.

Report back:

  • what kind of data does Adobe collect about website users?
  • why does Adobe need this data?
  • how and when does Adobe share user data?
  • how can users control what data Adobe retains?

Marketing to Children

Studies have shown that children age eight and under rarely comprehend the intent of advertising. While adults typically can identify what content on a web page is an ad, children have trouble distinguishing ads from regular content.

In the online environment, there may be special ethical challenges due to its engaging nature. There are a few specific areas of concern:

  • the interactive nature of the Web may lead children into a trace-like “flow” state, which may make them more susceptible to advertising suggestions
  • marketing messages can become intertwined with games, puzzles, and contests; some of these games have the intent to direct sell
  • young children often don’t detect the difference between fantasy and reality

Embedded Ad Messaging

Websites such as Neopets offer free online games for children. What parents usually pick up right away are the embedded marketing messages. Children don’t recognize the calculated effort to sell them something. They think someone just made some cool games and wanted to share them. Up to a point, kids can play for free (after they register an account). But the website upsells for real or virtual prizes, and includes lots of advertising for third parties.

Neopet upsells

Food Marketing

Food marketers are receiving a lot of scrutiny for online ethical behavior. Online media has opened new opportunities to market snacks of questionable nutritional value. Children’s exposure to junk food messages has proliferated well beyond the ads they see on TV.

Some food marketers use interactive games to extend brand messages to children. Some campaigns have even encouraged children to pass a marketing message on to friends via email or social media.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)


What kind of online protections should be in place for children?

Video: Protecting Children’s Privacy Under COPPA (FTC, July 2013) [6:27]

Security of Data

Video: Cutting Through the Fog: 2014 Internet Security Threat Report [2:17]


The following activities were mentioned in the video. What are they?

Norse Dark Intelligence

Norse Dark Intelligence

Every second, Norse collects and analyzes live threat intelligence from darknets in hundreds of locations in over 40 countries. The attacks shown are based on a small subset of live flows against the Norse honeypot infrastructure, representing actual worldwide cyber attacks by bad actors. At a glance, one can see which countries are aggressors or targets at the moment, using which type of attacks (services-ports).

Hovering over the ATTACK ORIGINS, ATTACK TARGETS, or ATTACK TYPES will highlight just the attacks emanating from that country or over that service-port respectively. Hovering over any bubble on the map, will highlight only the attacks from that location and type. Press S to toggle table sizes.

Norse exposes its threat intelligence via high-performance, machine-readable APIs in a variety of forms. Norse also provides products and solutions that assist organizations in protecting and mitigating cyber attacks.