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VeriSign Aims Wednesday Promotion At SMBs

VeriSign is offering a $298 discount on one year's worth of Trust seal
To help companies provide websites that customers can feel safe to browse and to buy from, VeriSign is having a one-day-only sale of its new VeriSign Trust seals, all day Wednesday, November 3, as part of a pre-holiday promotion campaign aimed at small business owners.

According to VeriSign, "The VeriSign Trust seal shows the world that VeriSign has confirmed your identity and your site has passed the VeriSign malware scan."

A year's worth of service for a VeriSign Trust seal normally sells for $299. During the "Dollar Day" sale, which will run from 12:01AM PST to 11:59PM -- "from midnight to midnight," said Tim Callan, head of marketing for VeriSign trust services at Symantec -- VeriSign is offering a $298 discount on one year's worth of Trust seal.

Available since April 2010, the VeriSign Trust seal is an alternative to the company's older seal. "The 'VeriSign Secured' circle-and-check VeriSign Seal has historically been yoked to our VeriSign SSL certificate, which meant that you had to be using VeriSign SSL Certificates to get a seal," said Callan.

"But many small businesses outsource their shopping cart to a third party like Yahoo or eBay, where they can't get SSL," said Callan. These third-party shopping carts are typically secured with SSL on their own, as indicated by the URL starting with HTTPS or SHTTP. "This means that credible businesses are penalized for being too small. So we are creating a standalone version of the seal. Businesses have to be secure, and have their identify confirmed... but they don't have to be using SSL."

The cost of a regular VeriSign Trust seal including the SSL Certificate is $399/year.

Types of businesses that a VeriSign Trust seal is appropriate for, according to the company, include small businesses, online retailers that outsource payment or shopping carts, publishers, and websites that collect or share personal information, such as for sign-ins or sales.

There are other website security seals, but, according to Callan, "These don't get purchased much by small businesses." The Better Business Bureau offers a seal, but, said Callan, "this measures different things, like complaints. We recommend getting and putting up both [the BBB's] and ours."

According to Callan, "The VeriSign seal can display either on the website, or through our 'seal and search' feature. We have partners who display seals in the places where people go to find websites to visit, like PriceGrabber and TheFind, to see seals next to VeriSign-authenticated merchants. These seals have been demonstrated to increase traffic to a site, and transactions on a site." According to VeriSign studies, sites displaying these seals see a 24% increase in completed transactions."

The presence of a VeriSign Trust seal "signifies that a website has been authenticated, and checked for malware. People visiting a site want to feel it's safe," said Callan.

According to VeriSign, "Authentication is an established and proven process used by VeriSign that shows the world that VeriSign has verified your identity and that you are the rightful owner or operator of your website." VeriSign uses third-party methods for authentication.

Knowing who a company is, that it has a physical address, and how to reach it, said Callan, means that users have the ability to redress. "If a company does bad things, you know where they are and who to sue. Our belief is that accountability is the cornerstone of online business."

The second biggest risk for a consumer, said Callan, is getting malware on their computer, which most commonly happens through a 'drive-by-download,' from HTML injections into legitimate websites. The presence of malware can also lead to legitimate websites being blacklisted by Google, Norton, and other web security tools and services, Callan noted. VeriSign daily re-scans each site that a seal has been purchased for. "If we find any, we let the owner know, including the line that's doing it."

According to Callan, "The VeriSign Trust seal increases customer confidence in a site and improves search engine traffic, site registrations, and sales conversions."

According to VeriSign, when a visitor clicks the VeriSign Trust seal, they see the information that the seal purchaser provided and that VeriSign has verified, including organization name, city, state, country, and the status of the most recent malware scan. VeriSign has a verification page on its website to let people see if they have a certificate.

According to Callan, since VeriSign started offering its Trust seals in April 2010, over 1,000 businesses have gotten them. But, Callan observed, "Many businesses still think they don't qualify for a VeriSign seal because they don't have SSL. This one-dollar promotion is to let those businesses see it's for them."

Existing companies who have already purchased a VeriSign Trust seal for full price can get their subscription extended at the discount price for an additional year, or have the discount applied retroactively, according to Callan, by calling VeriSign's sales department directly.

VeriSign is limiting purchase of the Trust seal discounts to one per business.

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