How Ethical Is Your Webmaster Part 3

Cute or Inspiring Pass This Ons: Not that long ago I received emails from one of my email sending circle of friends and would be new acquaintances. We shared the usual you must see this email for a time daily. One of the new would be acquaintances sent me an email: the kind that potentially gathers info and reports it back to the webmaster who is harvesting the addresses from the “Please Pass This On” justmyfitness email. I sent a polite concerned email to let the new acquaintances know that I did not pass the email on as requested and that similar mailings collect addresses. The reply stunned me.” I have a friend who harvests email addresses. It is just business.” It is just business? Deliberately harvesting accurate email information from unsuspecting recipients under the guise of new acquaintance, to be spammed or sold is not just business to me. My reply was “Remove me from your address book.” Several months later, I was informed this person works in an internet related business. This email is a reminder that all is not always right and good in the internet world.

What Can My Webmaster Control: Does the hosting webmaster conduct business in a professional manner? This may seem trite to some. If they sell what you want who cares right? Wrong. The person or persons who manage, oversee, edits text, makes changes to your site and or host your web site, have total control of every area of your web site. So much for trusting the internet when it comes to your business. Anything that is displayed, comes in or goes out of your web site may be accessed at any time by your hosting webmaster or web site manager. Would you allow your hosting webmaster or site manager to copy your client’s email addresses, personal information, contract offers, negotiating conditions and all correspondence between you and your customers? Every email or message communication you send or receive using your web site can at anytime; be read, copied or deleted by your webmaster or web site manager without you ever knowing it. Important information is sometimes better delivered between customer and your business using a paid mail service instead of your address. If your communication requires the inclusion of user names and passwords; good advice is to separate them even when using a private email service. Send the user name in one email and the password in another.

Expected business ethics: There is a level of trust and a degree of expected business ethics of the webmaster you choose to host or maintain your web site information. Would you let your webmaster or web site manager come to your business and gather whatever information they wanted from your files? Your customer’s email address and other pertinent information should not be in any way abused.

Where the Profits Can Come From: The unethical hosting webmaster have a wealth of ways to repeatedly profit from your customer’s information. The internet provides a lucrative market for your webmaster to repeatedly sell your personal as well as customers’ names, email, street or mailing addresses; to the high dollar sale of your customer’s credit card information over and over again to web servers who host spammers. If there is reason for you to have a customer’s passport number in your files, the information can readily be sold for a minimum of $500.00 each. Marketing personal information can be very lucrative for the unethical webmaster. Are you negotiating a business deal and communicating private information with a client? That information timely sold, can be worth a few dollars to thousands depending on the circumstance. Your hosting webmaster can easily track the purchases or spending habits of your customers and detail their income level and you as owner of your online business will never know.

Jean Kroft is a contributing editor for the serving the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Questions about this article may be sent to



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