The mass proliferation of the Internet has changed the way that both organizations and individuals conduct business. While many have seen this process as a boom, the reality is that the inability of any government agency to regulate the Internet has promulgated a considerable amount of concern. As such, even though companies can improve the speed of their business and individuals can communicate in a more efficient manner, the unregulated environment of this medium has been taken by many to mean, “anything goes.” With the realization that the Internet marks unregulated territory, this investigation considers the issue of Internet marketing with regard to the development of public policy. By examining the what steps have been taken to regulate Internet marketing a clear delineation of the impact of public policy on the Internet will be garnered.
Considering the issue of public policy as it relates to Internet marketing, an author (2001) notes that the central problem with regulation is that the Internet represents a new media that while similar to others, has marked differences that make it difficult to regulate. “Even though it shares many characteristics of other media, the Internet—with its global reach and rapid interactive transmission—has the potential to create new situations that are not clearly addressed by existing policies”.
Exploring the specific issues of Internet marketing that have promulgated concern over the last several years, Authors (2000) note that overall, the lack of regulation of the Internet has made it more difficult for consumers to obtain objective information. This coupled with new marketing techniques that allow companies to marketing their products based on the level that they pay for advertising makes it even more difficult for consumers to know if they are truly getting the best product or service for their money. Because some degree of consumer protection is expected, and in this case needed, the American public has turned its attention to the federal government in order to protect innocent consumers from the perils of an unregulated Internet.