TRUSTe Offers Online Privacy Solution

Cost-conscious businesses looking to enhance customer confidence in Web retail might look to TRUSTe's online privacy solutions.

Privacy and user protection company TRUSTe has announced the launch of Privacy Services for Small and Medium Businesses, which the company said gives small businesses the chance to attract more customers by offering them a safe online experience.

TRUSTe's basic privacy policy package allows a small business owner to obtain a privacy policy based on the company's business practices through TRUSTe's proprietary Privacy Policy Generator. Pricing starts at $249 for the one-time service and does not include the TRUSTe seal.

Once the business passes Web-based privacy and security scans, the business is awarded the TRUSTe Verified Seal. TRUSTe also offers A/B testing to measure the level of transactional improvements from displaying the trustmark. Other benefits include regular updates on privacy issues, an account portal and consumer dispute resolution services. Pricing starts at $49 per month.

SMBs with a more demanding privacy program can apply for TRUSTe's flagship Web privacy certification program, where they receive one-on-one privacy consultations from online privacy specialists, customization assistance for privacy disclosures and practices, unlimited display of TRUSTe's Web Privacy Seal, consumer dispute resolution services and more. Pricing for the certification program starts at $849 per year.

A recent Marketing Sherpa study found that 53 percent of consumers worry about sharing personal information, and in a recent survey by TRUSTe, the company found that 56 percent of small business owners with Websites have no privacy policy and one-third "cut and paste" their privacy policy from another site. Company CEO Fran Maier said few entrepreneurs give enough attention to Website privacy and security, nor do they understand the associated risks.

"As e-commerce sales rise and small businesses migrate to online models, TRUSTe is making affordable, easy-to-use privacy services accessible to companies of all size and type," Maier said. "This inexpensive solution will help small businesses build their brand reputation in order to address the needs and concerns of online customers, leading to greater trust and increased sales conversion rates."

While the company claims half of the top 50 Websites are certified to TRUSTe's practices, including enterprises such as Disney, eBay, Facebook, Intuit, Microsoft and Yahoo, the company has focused attention on the needs of smaller businesses. Wesley Cutlip, CEO of StoneRose Productions, said the retail industry has changed dramatically within the last 10 years, and credibility is paramount to compete.

"Privacy services from TRUSTe are a perfect solution for us-for everyone starting out-because it's easy to lose business when a Website does not look secure to a potential customer," he said. "As an entrepreneur with a limited budget, improved standards in consultation dealing with any aspect of business is key in making my dollar work for me. TRUSTe's SMB privacy services are simple to integrate because they're so easy to understand, and using their services allows more time for me to concentrate on my customers."