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Top Sites Revealed In 2013 Online Trust Honor Roll - Twitter Leads List

Social media sites outpaced other categories in garnering top honors

Chicago, IL (June 5, 2013) – Internet Retailer Conference & Expo – The Online Trust Alliance (OTA), a nonprofit organization with a mission to enhance online trust by collaboratively establishing best practices for privacy and security, today released the 2013 Online Trust Honor Roll report, revealing the top scoring websites recognized for excellence in privacy, security and consumer protection.

OTA completed comprehensive audits, reviewing more than 750 domains and privacy policies, 10,000+ web pages and over 500 million emails associated with the Internet Retailer 500 (IR500), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC 100), and Top 50 Social and Federal Government sites. The composite analysis focused on three major areas: Domain, Brand & Consumer Protection; Site, Server & Infrastructure Security; and Data Protection & Privacy. Combined, over a dozen attributes were reviewed for the 2013 report. Details are posted at https://otalliance.org/2013honorroll.html.

Thirty-two percent of the companies audited made the Honor Roll. Twitter had the top overall composite score and American Greetings achieved the number one ranking of all internet retailers. These companies have demonstrated a commitment to voluntary best practices, consumer protection and self-regulation. In addition to American Greetings, Amazon, Big Fish Games, Bike Bandit, Books-A-Million, iHerb, JackThreads, Levenger Co., LivingSocial, Netflix, Ralph Lauren and Rock Auto qualified for the top 10 eCommerce sites (two sites tied for two rankings are included in the top 10).

"Twitter is pleased to have earned the top score on the OTA Honor Roll. By supporting Always-On-SSL, Do Not Track, DMARC, and most recently login verification, we aim to keep users connected securely to everything happening in the global town square," said Bob Lord, director of information security, Twitter.

"Through an ongoing process we have evolved our data security and privacy practices from one of compliance to one of stewardship," said Joseph Yanoska, vice president, technology, American Greetings. "We're honored by the recognition the OTA has given us, and are committed to supporting their efforts. We share and embrace their approach to security and hope that it results in a higher level of trust from our customer base."

Social gaming and dating sites (Social 50) outpaced both the IR500 and FDIC 100 2:1 in percent of companies qualifying for the Honor Roll. This disparity is attributed to the agility of sites within this segment, their recognition of the importance of data security and privacy and their infrastructure. Many banks and commerce sites have more complex legacy sites and data centers which impede their ability to quickly adopt many of the best practices.

"The 2013 report demonstrates how business leaders have recognized the need to move from compliance to stewardship. This is critical to consumer trust and to help stem the call for more regulation. The Online Trust Honor Roll report provides prescriptive and actionable guidance for businesses to move from a state of inaction to one which will enhance consumer protection," said Craig Spiezle, president and executive director of OTA.

Key Findings of the 2013 Online Trust Honor Roll:

32% of companies qualified for the 2013 Online Trust Honor Roll, with the overall top score being awarded to Twitter.

Though 26% of the Internet Retailer 500 made the Honor Roll, a slight improvement over 2012, 53% are still failing to achieve passing scores in one or more categories, unnecessarily exposing users to security, privacy and social engineering threats.

FDIC member banks demonstrated significant improvements over last year with 25% making the Honor Roll. Of those that did not qualify, 71% received failing grades in one or more categories, largely attributed to inadequate email and domain protection or outdated privacy policies with inconsistencies observed between their written policy and actual data collection observed.

The banking sector led in the adoption of Extended Validation SSL (EV SSL) certificates, at 60%, while overall worldwide growth of EV SSL certificates grew 28% over 2012.

Top U.S. Government (Federal 50) sites made improvements across all sectors; achieving 88% support of DNSSEC, yet significantly lagged in helping protect consumers from forged and deceptive email and securing their sites from known vulnerabilities. Only 20% adopted both SPF and DKIM and one third received failing grades for their SSL server security.

Adoption of email authentication to counter forged and malicious email experienced double-digit growth across three of the four segments with IR100 adoption of both SPF and DKIM jumping 20% to 76%.

Privacy scores climbed in all categories representing the importance of transparency for data collection and controls on sharing with third parties. OTA member companies led all segments with an average of 83.7% increasing 5 points over 2012.

"Being named to the 2013 Online Trust Honor Roll is a significant achievement. The adoption of best practices not only helps to protect customers, it also builds brand integrity, enhances click through and reduces the risk of shopping cart abandonment," said Spiezle.

Webinar Briefing: OTA will host an online briefing on Wednesday, June 12 at 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. PDT. To attend, register at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/557281512

About The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) https://otalliance.org

The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) is a non-profit with the mission to enhance online trust, while promoting innovation and the vitality of the internet. Our goal is to help educate businesses, policy makers and stakeholders while developing and advancing best practices and tools to enhance the protection of users' security, privacy and identity. OTA supports collaborative public-private partnerships, benchmark reporting, meaningful self-regulation and data stewardship.

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