As of the twenty first century, businesses have continued to venture into advanced marketing, sales and communication to customers. These methods normally include use of mobile phone applications as well as internet website among other technological inventions. Even though the technological approach in marketing and communication to customers has been praised for its reliability, it has also had its hitches. Among the most feared hitches have been competition, privacy policy provision for customers and security for customer or site users. To elaborate on the ups and downs of internet marketing and security, this paper takes McDonalds Corporation as a typical example for the case study. McDonalds, is a fast food corporation started in the USA but operating at multinational levels with vibrant branches in Malaysia and Singapore.

Evaluation of McDonalds Website

McDonald’s pioneer website is that operating in USA. In their website has been elaborate and keen to ensure that it captures the full information of their product. The website has been divided into nine sections at its home page which provide navigation to access of information on the company’s products which include food, promotions, “our story”, careers, locations, search, contacts and services and lastly a link to other McDonald’s websites. Each of these website navigation tabs is meant to provide information to the company’s products and services (Bennet 2002). In their foods sections, the websites provides a list of available foods. In the promotions sections, the website provided information on special deals to foods such as the popular McRib and the fruit and maple oat meal. In the location tab, the website provides a list of the locations where its branches are situated. Lastly, the search section allows site users and customers to easily check on particular meals they intend to buy.

In the website also, the company has provided a list of its contact information where it provides both virtual and physical contacts. In this section they have provide the users with a message sending option where website users can send a direct message through the website. Moreover, the company has also provided a hot line number through which website users can call. The company has also provided a postal address through which letters or parcels can be send. Besides the contact information tab, the company has also provided a link to other websites which is also a piece of contact information. The company has also provided links to world popular social networks namely face book and twitter. Lastly, the company has provided a list of areas where their branches can be found. In this view, it can be said that the company has done an exemplary outstanding job in connecting to the public.

As evident of the discussion above, McDonald’s internet marketing using their website has been very successful in provision of product and service information and creation of contact with the public. However, these are not the only components to be considered in evaluating a company’s website. We need also to consider customization of products for customers and customer information at purchase. These two components have seemingly been a challenge to McDonald’s website as neither of them is represented in the website.  The company has not provided any options for special customer orders through the website. On the same note, the company does not have an online purchase or ordering system. In these two components of a websites success therefore, the McDonalds website has failed.

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Internet Marketing Strategies in McDonald’s website

In order to ensure that the company stays at the top of its game through internet marketing, the company has had to adapt three main marketing strategies which seem to be bearing fruit. To begin with, the website has been written in words that are search engine optimizing in the context of food. Food in the company have been described as sweet, saucy, tangy and so on and so forth. These keywords have ensured that the site is a click away among the top five results of searching for a food. Secondly, the company website has used the social networking approach to keep its performance in internet marketing high. Through the connected links; particularly face book and twitter, the company has been able to connect with new customers as well as sustain old ones through a friendly manner. Last, the company has used the blogging approach of internet marketing (Cateora 2009). Under its story tab on its home page, the website provides a news link through which it publishes happenings that are making news which would be of interest to the public. This way, customers and other members of the public find it appealing to read news and probably leave a comment as they search their favorite fast food. Indeed, the company has been successful in tapping to its internet market.

Privacy policy and Response to Security Breach

Given that the McDonalds website allows for customer and public subscriptions to its website, it is obliged to protect its customers privacy. Under its privacy policy, McDonalds Company states that:

McDonald's Corporation ("McDonald's") is pleased to provide information to all of its customers about its online privacy policy. Please be assured that McDonald's uses its best efforts to protect the privacy of visitors to this web site. McDonald's may share personal information within the McDonald's Family. 

The above statement shows that the privacy of customers subscribed to the website is not really assured and that the safety of customer privacy could easily be compromised by being exchanged between untrustworthy hands working within the so called McDonalds family.

Recommendation for Greater Security

In order to ensure customers of the security of their privacy, the company needs to come out clear in its policy statement in the website. The company needs to realize and address the risk of work attacks. It needs to assure the subscribed customers that their information is secure against worm attacks which could compromise the information stored in the company’s website. Besides work attacks, the company also needs to acknowledge and address the loophole they have created in stating generally that customer information can be shared within the McDonalds Family. They need to understand the risk that in the course of exchange, the information could lie in the hands of unauthorized employees and therefore compromising the privacy of customers subscribed to the website. Indeed, security for customers or website users has to be assured in the company is expecting a successful relationship with its customers through the website (Fortenberry 2010).

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