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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.

By Melissa Campanelli

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. takes privacy seriously. An online retailer ofeducational toys and software based in Denver, the company has hada privacy statement on its Web site since its launch two years ago.While the company says protecting the privacy of Internet customersis a courtesy, privacy has become the subject of a heated legaldebate among consumer protection groups, business associations,government agencies and the Clinton administration. Because theInternet gives companies the capability to gather enormous amountsof information about their customers, the worldwide computernetwork is both a marketer's dream and a privacy advocate'snightmare.

For, the issue is simple: Protecting privacyimproves 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 personalinformation is being used. The good companies are letting themknow."'s privacy statement is comprehensive. It saysthe company doesn't sell names, e-mail addresses or otherpersonal information about its customers to third parties.Customers who sign up for's monthly e-mailnewsletter, which includes information about special offers, canremove their names from the mailing list at any time. The privacystatement also notes that while the company collects informationabout how visitors use the site, personal information is used onlyto update customers on a product's shipping status or to verifyshipment receipts.

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