VIRTUAL SIDE of the Consumer Rights and Vision

In the much experienced and info-glutted virtual Cyberspace, the episode of techno-drama related to ecommerce is replete with high-tech success stories on one hand and a phenomenal growth of high-capitalization potential of dot-corns on the other. Some sobering thoughts about the dot-corn bubble-bursting are reaching the inboxes of netizens but more of the info-bytes speak about the dotcoms’ spread bringing more business for advertising agencies; essentially adding to the expanding spectrum of advertising and the consequent emerging of more dot-corn related IT initiatives.

Not so surprisingly, a news item informs, “Indian Information Technology start-ups’ extravagant media spending helped the domestic advertising industry grow 24.83% in the year to March, according to a survey by A&M- an industry publication.” About the reshuffling of budgets that do not depend on new money, the report says with a warning, “Advertising agencies’ total gross income was Rs10.25bn ($218.5m) last year.

But some industry players warn that the slump in dotcoms’ fortunes, coupled with forecasts of slower overall economic activity, could slash the sector’s rate of growth to about 10-12% in the year ahead.””E-Commerce has a lot of hype surrounding it”, says Louise Sylvan Vice-President, the Consumers International,” and I think a lot of the hype is deserved.

E-commerce has enormous potential to provide consumers with better information and educational opportunities, as well as new market choices and value for money.” So far, so good. But how can the potentials of e-commerce in the Information Age be harnessed in the best possible way amid a sharp ‘digital divide’ around the world?

How can the electronic commerce mechanisms be primarily geared to develop win-win situations both for business community and consumers’ leading to a system that actively seeks healthy business practices and consumer satisfaction for mutual benefit and trust

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