‘Ethics’; it’s a term that gets touted a lot in the online marketplace and most well-established ‘webmasters’ claim to be sincere and highly principled in all business that they conduct – on the Internet, or in the wider commercial world.
But let’s get back to basics and actually come up with a clear, workable and decisively practical definition of the word ‘ethics’. After all, one cannot claim to be ‘ethical’ in business if one only has a vague idea what it actually means.
For sake of argument I consulted the Oxford American Dictionary and discoverd thus: ‘ethics’ – 1. the science of morals in human conduct; 2. moral principles, rules of conduct. (punctuation adjusted).
Now, you may accuse me of being overly academic in my examination but it is fair to state that the wider online community’s accepted meaning of the word ‘ethics’ (as in, ‘good’) and the definition supplied by the Oxford Dictionary, do not always line up!
To explain further, many online organizations, that I have come across, claim that they provide only the highest quality products and services and the best advice to consumers. That sounds all well and good but in actuality this sometimes is not the full story. You see, even the most skilfully worded list of company policies and best practices, and the sharpest ‘money back guarantees’ on the market, sometime fall short of the mark!
Most businesses and online companies are made up of a number of employees, who are held together by some sort of corporatized structure; the boss at the top and several ‘layers’ and departments underneath. In order to run an ethical operation it is imperative that all ‘links’ in the company are indeed themselves ethical and highly principled and follow a strict set of rules and regulations. One ‘bad apple’ and the reputation of a large enterprise can be threatened and damaged beyond repair (at least in the short-term).
You may point out that you run an online business that does not have an employee heirachy and is better qualified as being a small business venture! Does that mean that you are in any means exempt from being ethical? Absolutely not!
The reality of the inter-connected, globalized digital market is that your public persona and professional image spin on a thin edge. One bad business dealing or unethical practice and your reputation can be flushed away – the Internet is often described as a ‘viral monster’, and, like the wider media, if not more so, this amazing entity can spread news and information faster than the blink of an eye to the four corners of the known world!
That’s a very sobering fact and one worth giving careful consideration to! It has been estimated that nearly a third of the world’s population (that’s nearly 2 billion people) use the Internet or are closely associated with someone who does; that is a lot of eyeballs watching! And, it’s fair to say, that a portion of that figure will be watching what ‘you’ are doing online!
Now that some perspective has been established I’m sure you can see why being ethical in business matters is imperative in order that one’s online interests flourish. Your online presence is your own personal brand; everything you do on the Internet leaves a digital footprint that anyone (with minimum web skills) can follow and examine in detail! Even so called ‘closed’ and guarded sites are not always 100% effective. To provide an example, I often get a message, when making an online transaction, that my ‘details’ may not be totally secure and do I ‘wish to proceed’!? It makes me think twice I can assure you!
To sum up, everything you do in the world of online selling accumulates to provide a ‘digital snapshot’ of the sort of person you are, the type of operations that you run, and indeed the individual ‘ethics’ that you subscribe to! The better your principles, the more respect you shall earn and the more your business will profit and grow!
After all, the alternative is, if you decide to be less than honest in your online transactions and dispense with transparency in favor of deceitful dealings and ‘part-truths’, then you may find that your online image and brand is ‘unmasked’ by the wider digital community, and you will be left out in the cold ….. banished to Cyberia! (irony intended).
Be ethical in everything that you do, or pay the price; it’s that simple!
For more content from David check out http://www.money-fatherspirit.com/