Busy day today, which is why this blog is so late. In addition to my track session and hosted lunch at eTail West in Palm Desert, CA (both of which went very well, thank you) VeriSign today announced the VeriSign Trust Seal, which will be generally available shortly.
The VeriSign Trust Seal is the latest update to the VeriSign Secured Seal, the world's most popular online trust mark. The VeriSign Trust Seal expands on the capabilities of the VeriSign Secured Seal in two significant ways.
- The VeriSign Trust Seal comes with a daily site malware scan, providing assurance that a visited site is free of harmful malware attacks.
- The VeriSign Trust Seal is available for sites that don't use SSL Certificates.
The daily malware scan is a valuable addition from the user's perspective because malware is the new scourge to online safety. In fact, the Anti-phishing Working Group recently released figures indicating that 48% of scanned desktops contained malware on them. That incredibly high number may be explained by some numbers Google has shared with us. As of January 2008, a whopping 1.4% of all search queries contained at least one link with malware on it. Of the 66 million URLs Google checked in depth, over 3.4 million proved to be malicious. If time allows I may look around for some more recent stats, but I have to imagine that this number has only gone up.
This malware protection is important to the business for two reasons. First, every online business I know wants to treat its customers like gold. They're universally upset (in my experience) at the thought of inadvertently infecting their customers with malicious software. But the second reason more directly affects their wallets. Many popular software and online applications maintain "black lists" of sites known or believed to contain malware, and these black lists can prevent visitors from making their way to sites. Search engines (such as Google or Bing), browsers (like Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome), and even desktop anti-virus applications often prevent or discourage access to domains appearing on one of these black lists.
This addition is very important to sites seeking to ensure their continued availability. But many sites will find the second major enhancement even more important, which is that for the first time ever, non-SSL sites can take advantage of the VeriSign seal.
The VeriSign seal is the world's most displayed and most trusted online trust mark. It appears on over 90,000 Web sites and has been viewed more than 250 million times in a single day. However, since this seal has depended on a sites' use of SSL for display, the VeriSign seal has been unavailable to sites who don't need to encrypt information moving back and forth between the server and the client. Now with its added benefit of malware detection, the VeriSign Trust Seal is valuable to consumers on non-SSL sites, and therefore we're making it available for purchase and use without an SSL Certificate.
A great example of the type of site that can benefit now from the VeriSign Trust Seal is an e-commerce site using a hosted, third party shopping cart. Hosted carts are a perfectly legitimate option for online merchants, especially the smaller ones who would rather outsource the technical, regulatory, and security aspects on taking online payments to another party who is expert in these things. That way the merchant can focus on its area of expertise while letting the hosted cart provider focus on these other things. It can be a great arrangement for both parties, but until now that decision had the consequence that the online merchant missed out on the opportunity to display the VeriSign seal. That's important considering that A/B split testing has shown that the VeriSign seal increases e-commerce transactions an average of 24% (ranging from 10% to 36%). I personally am exposed to a good number of these merchants who would like to use the VeriSign seal but are not in the position to secure anything with SSL. Now they, too can display this seal to increase their close rate.
The VeriSign Trust Seal will be available for purchase and display by online businesses this week or next. If you're interested in the seal, we have a form you can fill out to be informed as soon as it becomes available.
I'll keep you posted on developments in the days and weeks to come.