Online commerce is thriving, even in the face of an economy that is still struggling to get back to full
speed. In fact, recent comScore figures show increases in holiday season spending over last year,
after early data started to become available. Of course, more consumers are likely getting online to
do their shopping than ever before and one reason is the perception that, as time goes by, shopping
online is more secure than in the past.
Periodically, the Web experiences rather signifcant security
breaches. It's happened before and it will happen
again. If this happens to your website, the fallout can
be absolutely nuclear. Some businesses never recover.
It is essential to not only protect your website and
customer data from attack, but also to let your customers
know that you take serious measures to protect
them. Privacy policies are a good start, but you might
want to consider a more forward, consumer-facing approach
in the form of website seals. These simple
badges can go a long way to comforting users and helping
them open their wallets, turn over information or
return to your website.
There are plenty of website trust and security programs
and solutions that provide seals and many overlap
each other. What follows are just a few, and some
information about what sets them apart from others.
BBBOnLine Reliability Seal: Few consumer
watchdog groups are as well-known or respected as the
Better Business Bureau (BBB). And that’s why, for many
websites, their Reliability Seal makes sense. In order to
be eligible for the seal, website owners must agree to
follow the BBB’s Code of Online Business Practices. According
to the BBB website, “The following Code of
Online Business Practices is designed to guide ethical
'business to customer' conduct in electronic commerce.
These guidelines represent sound online advertising
and selling practices that the Better Business Bureau
(‘BBB’) and BBBOnLine believe will boost customer
trust and confidence in online commerce.”
Thawte: In the world of SSL certificates, Thawte has
emerged as a trusted provider. Thawte encrypts data
transferred during website visits, so this type of security
protection is essential for e-commerce websites and
any other sites requesting and sending personal information.
The Thawte seal assures customers that personal
information is secure. They provide code signing
certificates for various platforms including Microsoft
Authenticode, Sun Java, Adobe AIR, Mac and Microsoft
Office and VBA.
TRUSTe: While providing ancillary services, TRUSTe
is most recognized as a producer of websites’ privacy
policies and provider of validation of those policies.
Starting at $49.95 per month, TRUSTe will generate a
and provide unlimited customer dispute resolution,
along with a seal for your website.
ValidatedSite: The ValidatedSite seal assures website
visitors that an actual, accountable business is behind
the website — important in a time when any
website can be produced in a matter of minutes. ValidatedSite
ensures the business has a physical location,
working e-mail addresses and phone numbers, and validates
the presence of company officers, in the event a
business disappears. The documents required for the
seal must be signed, initialed and notarized, so they can
be used in a court of law to protect consumers. Prices
range from $100 to $3,600, depending on the site's
ranking from Ranking.com and Alexa.com. Each seal
is verifiable to each individual domain only and expires
annually unless renewed, preventing a one-time verification
from being duplicated.
buySAFE: Among buySAFE’s options, merchants
can enlist to place funds in a type of bonded account,
to ensure customers that their purchase is through a
reputable online merchant, guaranteed to deliver on
their promises. The buySAFE seal also shows up in
search results, offering a competitive advantage, and is
very popular with eBay merchants.
ECO-SAFE: For those websites
that want to cater to
an environmentally conscious
consider the ECOSAFE
The badge tells website
visitors that you
practices and helps
prevent the printing
of website pages by
offering buttons to
send the page to an
e-mail address, or
download a PDF of the
claims that participating
subscribers and loyalty