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For Your Eyes Only

You ask for their names, addresses, phone numbers-and customers wonder where they go. Let a privacy statement give your online shoppers peace of mind.

This story appears in the May 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » takes privacy seriously. An online retailer of educational toys and software based in Denver, the company has had a privacy statement on its Web site since its launch two years ago. While the company says protecting the privacy of Internet customers is a courtesy, privacy has become the subject of a heated legal debate among consumer protection groups, business associations, government agencies and the Clinton administration. Because the Internet gives companies the capability to gather enormous amounts of information about their customers, the worldwide computer network is both a marketer's dream and a privacy advocate's nightmare.

For, the issue is simple: Protecting privacy improves its company image and instills trust in its customers. "More people are paying attention to privacy issues," says Srikant Srinivasan,'s founder and CEO. "Consumers today want to know -- and have the right to know -- about the companies they're dealing with and how their personal information is being used. The good companies are letting them know."

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