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Posts Tagged ‘trust seals’

Better Business Bureau – An Accreditation Process Based On How Much Money Your SmallBiz Pays?

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Remember the Better Business Bureau?  Do you use it? Do you like it? If you found it helpful…well it might not be as helpful as you thought it would be. According to MSNBC, the BBB’s accreditation process might be based purely on money. Criticism is being directed at the BBB’s aggressive membership sales process.  The BBB has admitted to making mistakes and said that they have reviewed the 16 factors that they consider when deciding whether or not give a business accreditation.  MSNBC’s post goes on to say that it’s better for consumers to solicit opinions on Social Media platforms on the business that you are interested in as opposed to specifically relying on the Better Business Bureau.  This is not the first time that there has been some criticism of BBB as we previously covered news reports by ABC News of BBB allegedly selling grades for small businesses.

Some people are really not happy with the BBB right now. But, some people go pretty far in venting their anger toward the BBB’s practices. Fee Fighters, a comparison shopping website for credit card processing, came out with a post that called the BBB is a “[@#$% ]Scam“. They then went on to say that the BBB may be exhorting people by describing some interactions that a business had with BBB when that business contacted the BBB in regards to some complaints that were apparently filed against the business.  The business, according to the Fee Fighter’s blog post, was told by the BBB that if the business would pay over $700 for a BBB membership than those complaints would be potentially cleaned.  In fact, according to the Fee Fighter’s account once the business paid for the BBB membership the rating for the business jumped from an “F” to an “A-“.  Oh by the way apparently according to this story on Gawker, the terrorist organization, Hamas, that has claimed responsibility for lots of bad things somehow gets an A- from the BBB.

Fee Fighters followed up on their post with a post recording the BBB’s reactions. At the time that they had published the post, they themselves at Fee Fighters had received BBB accreditation and had paid a lot of money for it. However, when the BBB saw their post, the BBB sent them a letter revoking Fee Fighter’s accreditation because the post did not conform to one of their guidelines.  Fee Fighters sent the BBB a letter back that stated that they were just telling the truth” which resulted in the BBB changing their status on the BBB’s website to Fee Fighters now having no rating.

How does all of this look for the BBB?  What do you all think?

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Posts Tagged ‘trust seals’

Verisign vs. KikScore: An Overview of Online Trust Seals and How They Differ

Monday, June 27th, 2011

VS.

If you follow the KikScore blog, you are most likely well versed in the general subject of small businesses and online trust.  You most likely even have one or two pop culture references under your belt that relate to topics such as security and e-commerce.  I would go as far as to say that you probably know a good bit about trust seals.  But do you really understand the different features that are provided by different companies?  A little research could really make the difference for your small business.  Lucky for you, the research has already been done….in this blog post I’ll provide an overview comparison of the KikScore Trust Seal and the popular Verisign Trust Seal.

Let’s start with what we know.  Just to review: a trust seal is a type of validation for an online site that is provided as a service from a third-party business.  Current popular providers include: Trust Guard, BuySAFE, Verisign, Better Business Bureau, TRUSTe, and McAfee SECURE.  These companies typically provide services that range from bonding transactions to services that may aim to prevent hacking or identity theft,  scanning services for websites or display privacy policies for businesses.

For this post, I am going to use the Verisign Trust Seal in comparison with the KikScore trust seal.  The Verisign Trust Seal is the probably most wide publicized in the market today.  If you are a small business with an online presence, you probably have heard of Verisign.  So why KikScore?  Why would you need the KikScore Trust Seal if there are so many other companies out there who provide what look to be similar services?

ANSWER: KikScore provides services to small businesses that you will not find anywhere else and here is why.

  • Multi-Dimensional Approach to Demonstrating Trust for a Small Business.
    • The Verisign trust seal has its benefits.  It possesses an impressive methodology that screens sites for certain malware and enables online businesses to identify a subset of security issues, as well as provide solutions and support.  KikScore takes a different take on yje trust and information standpoint for small businesses and uses an approach to incorporate and consolidate key information about a business’ track record that a website visitor would like to know about such as: customer satisfaction, financial responsibility of the business, management information location of the business, customer service and return policies, website history and reliability.  This information is then compiled into format that is easily accessible to website visitors from the website of the small business owner.  KikScore then creates a unique trust score based on all of this information about a business and displays it on the small business website.  So while other seals scan a site, KikScore focuses on information and data about a small business and whether that small business has a record of reliability and trustworthiness.
  • Merchant Report Card.
    • All of the information compiled on a small business is then consolidated into an interactive and continually updating report card for that business.   Both the KikReport and the trust score are continually updated as more information becomes available.  This is a feature that cannot be found in companies such as Verisign and is unique to KikScore: the merchant report card evaluates and displays information about merchants and small businesses on areas such as reliability and trustworthiness so that customers can further evaluate the trustworthiness of a site.  The KikReport allows a small business to take information about itself and display it in one place to website visitors, leads and shoppers.
  • All-Inclusive and Customized Using the Small Business Brand & Reputation Not Someone Else’s.
    • Verisign heavily advertises the fact that they are an already well-established service.  In fact, the Verisign logo even shows up in search engine results, for example, Google.  While this is a nice feature, this approach relies solely on the Verisign name and reputation and ignores the small business’ reputation and their owners trackrecord and history.  KikScore provides a unique trust score to each of its clients and allows the small business to use its own reputation and track record of reliability through the KikReport to demonstrate trust to website visitors.  Also, the KikScore trust seal is not simply a trust seal – it provides actual information about the business, its history and reliability so website visitors can make their own informed decision about the trust and security of a small business.  Which brings me to my next point…
  • Transparency.
    • The KikReport includes website history, store locations, services provided, and customer testimonial.  All of this is in addition to the basic Trust Seal and Trust Score.  This creates a solution for small businesses that allows website owners to be more transparent and open about themselves to shoppers and website visitors.  There is such a wealth of information about a small business that they can use to convey a track record of reliability and trustworthiness, KikScore simply enables a small business to take this existing information about a company and makes it easily available to potential customers and website visitors at the point of purchase.
  • It’s A Dynamic 2-Way Street!
    • KikScore also helps small businesses further develop a relationship with its customers.  Merchants have the option of providing an informational  video on their own KikReport as a way to introduce themselves to website visitors.  Additionally, the trust seal facilitates  real time interactions for small businesses with their own customers through the feedback platform that is built into each small business KikReport.

Verisign as a company has a reputation for generally providing a reliable and useful service to its clients.  But, if you are a small business who already subscribes to the Verisign service, you might want to consider adding the KikScore Trust Seal and Score to your website.  Another option to consider is the KikScore Service Seal: a product that is targeted towards businesses and websites who do not sell physical products online.  People who run service businesses such as bloggers, contractors, plumbers, lawyers, and movers can use the KikScore Service Seal, which is a confidence badge tailored specifically towards these types of companies.  The Service Seal is unique to KikScore; this type of seal cannot be found anywhere else in the market.

KikScore provides online businesses with the opportunity to extend their approach to online trust and security through greater transparency which ultimately should help a small business become more accessible and successful by clearly and convincingly demonstrating their trustworthiness!  Check us out and for more information about KikScore here are some recent articles about the KikScore trust building service for small business: Dealing with Shopping Cart Abandonment, Customers Unsure They Can Trust Your Business? Consider Trust Seal Provider KikScore and this article on A New Wave of Online Trust Scores.

Disclaimer: Product names, logos, and services are the property of their respective trademark holders.

Photo Credits: http://verisign.com, http://kikscore.com

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Posts Tagged ‘trust seals’

Show Shoppers Your Online Business Can Be Trusted: KikScore Your Trust Solution

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

PROBLEM: Online Small Businesses lose billions in dollars a year in sales because shoppers do not know if they can trust those small businesses.

SOLUTION: Trust Seals – But which one?

It is established that small businesses, especially ones just starting out, can have a difficult time conveying to the public that they are trustworthy and reliable.  As a result, small businesses often lose significant sales because of this concern that the public has.  One of the primary ways that small businesses address these concerns is putting a “trust seal” on their website.  The trust seal is supposed to denote that a third party validation has occurred in some way and that third party therefore “vouches” for that small business so shoppers can then trust that business.  There are many trust seals out in the market that do different things and some of the providers of those seals include Verisign, TRUSTe, BuySafe, Trust Guard and the Better Business Bureau.

So we at KikScore often get the question: Why should a small business use KikScore and how is KikScore different than the other trust seals?

This post is not going to bash other seals, but there are critical differences between the KikScore seal and other seals that are on the market.  This post points out those differences and is meant to educate the community about why these differences are important.

1) Empowering Small Businesses To Show Their Track Record – A fundamental concern that shoppers have is can they trust a business?  Many businesses and business owner have an actual track record of reliability in paying their bills, having a strong financial history, reliably delivering products and services and historically being responsive to customers. Typically that has been built up over years of being responsible, reliable and trustworthy in the market.  So isn’t that track record work something? We say YES!  KikScore allows small businesses to take their own great track record and communicate it to the world and visitors to their website.  No one else allows a small business to take their business history and communicate that to the world so shoppers can get more comfortable with that business.

2) Promote Your Own Brand Not Another Company’s – A lot of other trust and verification seals do much more to promote their brand name on your website than actually assist in promoting a small business.  This is especially the case with some seals with lots of money behind their brand name that are widely recognized. Again these may be good trust seals that have a limited purpose, but they each miss out on a critical element to the trust equation.  They essentially are saying their brand name is more important to have on your website that your own brand name. At KikScore we do not believe that is the case. In fact, our seal is structured to take extensive amounts of information about the small business itself such as the management team’s names, their financial reliability, business policies, locations and website information and promote that information rather than our own brand name. We do this because we feel that information is more important to a website visitor or shopper in their determination of trustworthiness of a website.

3) KikScore is a Multi-Dimensional Trust Seal – Some trust seals try to do and message different things to the public. For example, some seals check for certain types of malware, some collect comments, some convey that an secure connection (SSL) is on the website, etc.  KikScore deliberately leaves those tasks to other folks because again in some instances those functions serve a purpose.  Those seals/services are, however, typically a one-dimensional service that only communicate that a small business website site gets a periodic and limited security scan.  You should note that based on our extensive information and first hand experience those scans can be helpful, but by no means are comprehensive and historically have not caught major pieces of malware that have resulted in some recent data breaches. KikScore’s seal actually incorporates all of these seals in our Certifications tab in our merchant report card, called a KikReport, in addition to providing the other wealth of information about a small business, its management and website history. Taken together this creates a multi-dimensional seal unlike others in the market.  This multi-dimensional seal allows small businesses to have one comprehensive seal that addresses the trust and reliability equation from a variety of angles.

4) Give Shoppers Dynamic and Continually Updated Information About Your Business – As small businesses know, their historical track record for reliability and trustworthiness always is being updated with new data and information as more transactions occur and a business grows.  Kikscore’s seal addresses this by being dynamic and continually updating a small business and their merchant report card (KikReport). The KikScore seal is set up to continually be updated and our own databases and data providers are scanned constantly for new information about a small business site.  So for example, when a small business website’s traffic increases meaning that business may be growing, that is reflected in the KikScore seal and the KikReport.  Also as a small business becomes more financially viable, that also gets reflected in the KikScore seal too and again helps demonstrate trustworthiness and reliability to shoppers. We do this, others do not.  Most other trust seals are static meaning they do not update information presented on a seal besides perhaps a change in the date of a scan that is performed – otherwise other trust seals just present static information.  That static information really does not do a lot to help address the issue of building trust for small businesses.

5) You Get a Unique Trust Score for Your Small Business –  Unlike anyone in the market, KikScore takes information, data and merchant provided information, analyzes that information and presents to the public a completely unique and dynamic trust and reliability score.  This trust and reliability score takes into account literally hundreds of data points and indications of trustworthiness in order to compute the trust score.  The trust score which in some ways is akin to a credit score except that the KikScore trust score is made available to the public so a small business can communicate to customers that they have a high trust score and therefore can be trusted.  Even better is that the trust score is based on data and information that is verified by KikScore through our systems and automated processes.

6) KikScore Helps Small Businesses Giving Wary Shoppers Transparency Into Your Business – KikScore attacks the heart of the trust issue for small businesses by giving small businesses a way to make themselves, their business and their management more transparent to shoppers.  We have seen that when shoppers are provided more information about an online business their level of comfort and likelihood of buying from that website increases.  Without this important transparency, sales are lost and shopping carts are abandoned.  Instead of empowering small businesses to provide this transparency, other trust seals merely provide a very small, isolated and static piece of information about a small business (a malware scan, etc). Those seals are just not comprehensive enough to fully address the trust issue.

7) Encourages Interaction with Your Customers – KikScore’s seal incorporates an interactive feedback platform within the seal.  This permits small businesses to interact in real time with their customers.  This also allows these small businesses to have other shoppers review the comments that are posted inside the KikScore seal about the shopping experience with that customer.  KikScore even incorporates these comments into the trust score for the small business.  One additional benefit of the interactive feedback platform is that it helps bring customers to the small business website to post comments instead of having those customers post comments on various unrelated sites around the internet like Yelp.  Now granted their are a few other seals that include comments sorting and response functionality, none of them have the comprehensive trust building solution that KikScore includes with the items listed in 1-6 before.

So I will leave everyone with the following:  We rarely and I mean rarely overtly talk about the KikScore product on our blog.  Instead, we use this blog to communicate with the community and provide valuable small business tips.  That being said, we thought that this would be a good time to take the opportunity to educate small businesses on the critical differences between KikScore and the many other seals that claim to address the trust concern that shoppers continually say are a barrier to buying more online.

We would love to know your thoughts on the differences we have identified.

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Posts Tagged ‘trust seals’

Antivirus Software: A Comparison & Tips to Keep Your Computer Safe!

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

I’ve been commuting to college for a while now and I’ve noticed that in our library every newspaper except the USA Today is taken by 1:00 pm. What’s up with that? *shrugs* Anyway, guess what I’m going to talk about today!People living under rocks? No Patrick the starfish? No I’ll give you a hint. It was in the USA Today. Airline fees? Nope, I’m going to talk about Antivirus software! *fireworks* How many of you use antivirus software? *Looks around* Most of you, good. For those of you that don’t, get some! To help those of you that don’t have antivirus software or have had a trial version that’s now expired, USA Today has compared several antivirus software packages. Here’s the rundown.

  1. Microsoft Security Essentials: Remember OneCare? No? That’s ok, this is better. It’s free! You get the basics, such as anti-virus and anti-spyware. Plus it’ll scan all of your hard drives and I mean all. (I have this on my laptop and it scanned my external hard drive when I had it connected.)
  2. Immunet: $19.95, the only difference between it and Microsoft Security Essentials is you don’t get automatic updates and it also scans your email for infectious files. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Gmail already do that?
  3. Cyber Defender: $29.95 The only difference between it and Microsoft Security Essentials is no automatic updates and you get anti-phishing .

Most anti-virus software offers the same benefits. Some go further and offer website health checks, parental controls, and one, Webroot, offers to monitor your credit card usage. There are a ton of anti-virus software companies out there and that can make it confusing for those of us who want decent security. So, everyone should do their homework and find out which anti-virus software best fits their needs. Some good sites to look at are:

  1. Microsoft’s list of anti-virus software vendors, here.
  2. Google’s list, here, which includes anti-virus software for all you mac users out there.
  3. The USA Today list(see above) which compares several software vendors

One warning about free software (OK more like two), you might not get very good support and the software might not be updated very often. Make sure you check the frequency of updates before downloading. Also check the websites that you visit. Do they have a seal of authenticity, such as Kikscore’s seal? If not, be careful. For all you website owners out there, consider getting a seal.

What about the rest of you? What kind of anti-virus protection do you have?

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Posts Tagged ‘trust seals’

How Do You Judge A Website?

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Let’s assume that you are shopping from a website that doesn’t use our KikScore service.  Why?  I don’t know…maybe you like to live dangerously.  How do you judge website (and the corresponding business)?  I don’t know about you, but it’s very similar to judging a book by a cover.  I mean, it is a marketing tool, so you are supposed to make decisions on the information and images that it provides.  But in making your surface-level decisions, here are some tips in helping you form a better non-kikscore shopping experience:

1.  Contact information:  A warning sign for a less than robust shopping experience would be the lack of contact information (outside a email address).  A phone number isn’t necessarily a guarantee of a great company, but knowing a mailing address, twitter info and other pieces of contact information is a good indicator that a company is interested in being having satisfied customers.

2.  Management Bios —  A site that provides actual names and backgrounds of its management team is another indication that it is trying to be transparent (and reachable).  Looking at the experience of the management team should give you an indication of prior achievement in business and, relatedly, an understanding of being trustworthy in business (at least it’s more of an indication than a faceless corporate or product name).

3.  Privacy Policy:  A privacy policy is a voluntary commitment, but it is an commitment and clear indication of what a company will do with your information post-transaction. 

4.  Look and Feel of the Site:  A sharp looking site with a minimum number of typos is a commitment.  Serious and professional business people will take the time to convey the right image and message.

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Posts Tagged ‘trust seals’

Customer Reviews and Blogs: Do They Matter?

Monday, December 14th, 2009

There are a lot of websites and blogs that track the good and bad customer experiences with online sites and service providers.  The general notion is that these past experiences will help predict what future experiences will be.  The concept makes a lot of sense, but it presumes a few things to be true.  I just finished reading SuperFreakonomics, so I think I’m more than qualified to address these issues in a rigorous manner (did I mention that I am a scientist?  Yep, I graduated with a degree in political science, so you’re in good hands):

Sample Issues: The review sites and blogs are very much slanted towards those actually inclined to share their experiences, and those who actually know how to share them.   There is a large bloc of people not interested in telling the world about how they were ripped off by an unknown online seller (it’s called “loss avoidance” and most of us engage in it at some point…see I told you I was a scientist).  The sample of these comments are further vexed by the fact that some people don’t know how to voice their opinions (or which sites to do it with) — so the sample will likely skew towards more positive and be made by those familiar with technology/online industries.

Fraud: This is also a concern, and likely why most ratings skew overly positive…online sellers/service providers rate themselves (via fake accounts or their friends).  It’s not “fraud” in the sense of defrauding someone out of their money, but it’s not honest and defeats the purpose of customer reviews.  It’s similar to how I used to inscribe my own yearbook to make it seem like I had more friends.

Low Visibility/Little Negative Impact:  An online seller isn’t likely to promote their customer reviews unless  they are positive, so it takes a consumer extra effort to research the negative reviews.  And once you do come across those reviews, what do they mean?  If you’re about to save 20% on the new plasma t.v., it’s likely that you’ll take your chances — it’s likely the previous customers were just complainers. 

Time for the anecdotal: My wife bought a new light fixture online.  She receives it and finds out it can’t be used in a bathroom because of a potential fire hazard.  The contacts the owner of the site, he tells her “she should be fine putting it in the bathroom”).  After realizing she is not going to be able to return the item, she threatens to “blog about her experience”.  Of course, she has other things to worry about and in time she moves one — no negative review, no blog posting, no negative effect for the online seller.

Of course, we here at KikScore think we’ve solved the issue, but until we’re ubiquitous, we’ll have to determine whether customer reviews are helpful.  What are your thoughts?

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