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Using Privacy Seals To Boost Online Sales

Updated on December 1, 2008


As part of the payment dialog on your website, it’s good practice to emphasize that the customer's information will not be used inappropriately or be shared with other parties. Just a few lines of text will help to alleviate your customer’s privacy concerns.

Another way to help overcome this fear is to become certified with one of the privacy seal providers listed here:

  • BBBOnline
  • BetterWeb
  • E-Safe
  • ESRB Privacy Online
  • Global Trust Alliance
  • Guardian eCommerce Security
  • Net-Ethix
  • Privacy License
  • Privacy Secure
  • SecureBiz
  • TRUSTe
  • WebTrust

Once certified, you can place the privacy seal image on your site. The option is available to use more than one provider if you wish. Having one or more of these symbols displayed prominently tells your customer that you can be trusted.

TRUSTe and BBBOnline are the big names in the industry. You will generally pay more if you opt to use one of their seals. The others are lower priced and, as competition increases and more companies enter the market, you can expect a greater amount of choice. Individual payment plans vary, ranging from prices based on company revenue to others based on number of employees to simple flat fees.

For example:

  • Guardian eCommerce (US and Canada) has initial annual fee of $39.99 plus annual renewal fee of $25
  • (US only) uses a flat fee of $100 per annum
  • Privacy Secure (Global) is based on number of employees - $150 per annum for 1-3 employees up to $3,600 pa over 5000
  • TRUSTe (English and companies in Japan) is based on revenue - $599 to over $25,000 for multiple brands

To obtain and retain a privacy seal you must:

  • Have a privacy policy
  • List the information you collect and explain how it will be used and protected
  • Act in accordance with your privacy policy
  • Ensure your website is online and available for review

If you don’t already have a privacy policy or it is considered insufficient, the seal provider will usually help you to put it together.

To apply for a privacy seal you’ll normally have to do the following:

  • Submit information about your company’s privacy practices
  • Submit your website’s privacy statement
  • Arrange to have your website reviewed by the provider to determine any changes necessary
  • Agree to the provider’s privacy seal guidelines and license terms

Many consumers are concerned about maintaining the privacy of their information. In effect, the privacy seal provider is allowing you to use their good name and reputation. It lets your customers know that you care about their concerns.

A privacy seal is not the same as a security seal. The provider of a privacy seal looks at the business processes and how personal information is used on your website. The provider of security seals is more interested in your website’s technology. Make sure the text on your website conveys a sense of security and trust, e.g., “Order now through our secure online order form”. Also place a key and padlock symbol with the words “Microsoft and Netscape Secure.”

The more of this material you use, the less likely the user will be NOT to proceed with a purchase because of trust and security concerns.


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      Dave 9 years ago

      Trust Guard is a company that offers multiple seals at a reasonable price and we've found through hundreds of tests that the right combination of seals can really increase sales.