In the era of digital world, and so with marketing, online advertisement over the Internet is rampant and pertinent in marketing product and services, be it business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C). However, the raging use of Internet to market the product and services with advertisement leads to number of legal issues put into test, to name a few, authenticity, confidentiality, integrity and non-repudiation. The issue of non-repudiation relates directly to the issue of online advertisement, whether it is an "offer" or an "invitation to treat", since if it is an offer, the seller cannot repudiate the acceptance made by the buyer over the online advertisement. This article will discuss this prevalent issue which is yet to be decided by the Malaysian judicial system.
Keywords: online advertisement, marketing, offer, invitation to treat
The creation of World Wide Web and Web browser has transformed the Internet from a mere communication tool into a certifiably revolutionary technology. By the end of twentieth century, the number of Internet user grew to almost 400 million. The explosive worldwide growth in Internet usage forms the heart so called New Economy. According to Forrester Research (2007), the Internet retail will soar from 102 billion in 2006 to 263 billion in 2011. Based on the forecast, in the coming five years, the number of Europeans shopping online will grow from 100 million to 174 million. Their average yearly Net retail spending will grow from around 1,000 to 1,500, as UK Net consumers outspend even their US counterparts online. Overall, this will cause European e-Commerce to surge to 263 billion in 2011. In Asia, it was predicted in 2004 that wireless Internet users will reach close to 150 million, with e-commerce transaction exceed US $40B which covers the countries like China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Undoubtedly, the growth of the Internet retail relates to the advancement of the use of the Internet. Internet has been the revolutionary technology of the new millennium, empowering consumers and business with connectivity. Its enables consumers and companies to access and share huge amount of information with just few mouse clicks. Study has shown that consumers are assessing information on the Internet before making major life decisions. One in three consumers relies heavily on the Internet to gather information about choosing a school, buying a car, finding a job, dealing with major illness, or making investment decisions. As a result, to be competitive in today' new marketplace, companies must adopt technology or risk left behind (Kotler et al. 2005).
Moreover, according to Kotler et al. 2005, Internet buying benefits both final buyers and business buyers.
* It can be convenience, customers don't have to battle traffic, find parking spaces, and trek through stores and aisles to find and examine products. They can do comparative shopping by browsing through mail catalogs or surfing websites.
* In addition, the Internet often provides buyers with greater product access and selection. For example, the world's limit for the Web. Unrestrained by physical boundaries, cyber sellers can offer an almost unlimited selection.
* Beyond a broader selection of sellers and products, e-commerce channels also give buyers access to wealth of comparative information, information about companies, products and competitors. Good site often provide more information in more useful form than even the most solicitous salesperson can.
* Finally, online buying is interactive and immediate. Buyers often can interact with the seller's site to create exactly the configuration of information, products, or services they desire, then order or download them on the spot. Moreover, the Internet gives consumer a greater measure of control. Like nothing else before it, the Internet has empowered consumers. …