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Hacker Safe by Scan Alert- Is it worth it?

 2:44 pm on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

I would like to get some feedback on whether sites that have integrated the Hacker Safe from Scan Alert. Do you feel it has increased the trustworthiness of your site and increased conversions?



 3:03 pm on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)



 5:42 pm on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

We're in the middle of A/B testing ScanAlert on our site.

So far, no uptick in sales. There's enough data to suggest that there probably won't be, but not enough to prove it.

If final results of the current test show poor results, we'll modify placement of the ScanAlert logo once to try and improve it.


 7:18 pm on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have not checked what those older threads are, but I think I remember the discussions.

I am of the opinion (and it is part of the discusions) that it is not wise to even bring up the topic of hackers on an ecommerce site. Just scares people off. Out of site, out of mind.


 8:23 pm on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am of the opinion (and it is part of the discusions) that it is not wise to even bring up the topic of hackers on an ecommerce site. Just scares people off. Out of site, out of mind.

Why rely on opinion when facts are easy to determine?


 10:09 pm on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

CernyM, I'd be interested to know your final results. Thanks for your input.


 10:19 pm on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why rely on opinion when facts are easy to determine?

FACT: If I go to a site that is "certified" as "safe" from hackers, I think:
1) Some hacker hacked this site and added the graphic. (Sort of like all the virus infected messages floating around now with the "this message is certified virus free" tag on them.)
2) If someone is going out of the way to call my attention to hacking, he's trying to cover up something: either the site's been hacked before, is currently being hacked, or will be hacked shortly since a "hack proof" logo is an open invitation to hackers.

Perhaps in the future if/when Scan Alert becomes a household name (the way Veri$ign is with SSL certification), there will be some value in it.


 12:25 am on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

CernyM, I'd be interested to know your final results. Thanks for your input.

I'll post once we have more results in.

Depending on your volume and gross margins, doing the A/B test is pretty much a no brainer, even if you believe its 90% likely to show no improvement in conversions.

The Expected Value is just way too high to ignore for all but the smallest stores.


 1:12 am on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

over 4 months with hacker-safe and no increase in conversion rate

i won't be renewing


 6:24 am on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why would I use this? Just do my own port scanning and create my own good looking logo. I used them for compliance for visa/MC though - cheap and easy to use.

Kevin French

 10:33 am on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

We are currently on our second round of A/B testing with HackerSafe.

The second round has been active for 1 week and I plan on running for at least 2 weeks.

I'll be more than happy to share results once we are done testing.


 1:26 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

ecomprofit - i think the reason that most people sign up for HS is that they hope to have some improvement in user's perception of their safety while shopping at the site - in our case, we are no more secure than we were before - it's just a marketing thing


 3:26 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

We reached an 80% confidence interval on our first round of testing this morning.

The HS graphic did not improve sales for us. It appears to have had the opposite effect.

However, it should be noted that an 80% confidence interval is far from definitive. It has changed the risk profile for us though, and we're suspending the first A/B test. We're undecided at this point about whether to proceed with the second A/B test (which would actually make the HS graphic more prolific on our site.)

Other than the positive aspect of "now we know" we also got good feedback that our hosting provider is doing a good job of keeping up with the latest security patches on our server.


 7:38 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

I heard that the only one that may be worth it is BBBonline since the seal has good branding.

The only other good advice I heard is to have your SSL certificate seal and VISA/MC/Amex logs above the fold on the Credit card entry web page.


 9:51 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>over 4 months with hacker-safe and no increase in conversion rate

Interesting. The exact opposite of their high pressure sales pitch.


 8:03 pm on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

I heard that the only one that may be worth it is BBBonline since the seal has good branding.


Here's a useful tip, imo. I post the logo from the (very well-known) company that issues my secure certificate. It's free. And it links to pages on their site all about site security, and info on how one can know whether or not to trust a website's safety. We put the logo on the bottom of every page, then right next to the LogIn fields and credit card data-entry fields too. Works like a charm - highly reassuring. And here's an excerpt from our FAQ:

The dirty secret about these seals us that they are strictly for sale. They are not truly impartial nor merit-based, and approval standards are low. Seal display program subscriptions are actively hawked to website owners by aggressive cold-calling salespeople. Sites which do not pay these companies annual fees ranging between several hundred and thousands of dollars are not allowed to display the seals. Although such seals may seem to carry some kind of significant meaning or weight, for the most part they are virtually meaningless.

In webmaster circles, no website is ever truly 'hacker safe', and no security specialist other than an amateur would be so ignorant or presumptuous as to declare it. {WidgetWorld} site security is state of the art and always evolving. Our longstanding reputation in the {widget} trade is spotless, backed by a long history of extraordinarily clean statistics for well over a decade. In our opinion it is unnecessary to pay anyone for a useless seal, which provides a false sense of assurance only to those who are easily assured. We believe our money is far better spent on perfecting customer service, and constantly refining actual site security.


 12:24 am on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)



 11:08 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

Go - chucky - go chucky - It's your birthday - Go Chucky...


 5:18 am on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

If your not good on 24 hr customer service, answering the phone religiously, the seals could help get people to order online rather then calling in.


 2:38 pm on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks to all for your responses to my initial question. It's quite possible that putting up a logo like this in a site might distract the potential buyer from completing the mission- buying the product. The customer going along their merry way through the buying process might be stopped in their tracks with thoughts of hacking, indentity theft, cc fraud, etc. These security logos don't protect CC information stored remotely or locally on poorly secured storage devices, nor does it protect the consumer from internel theft. I guess the adage: "You can earn trust but you can't buy it." applies here.


 4:31 pm on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's quite possible that putting up a logo like this in a site might distract the potential buyer from completing the mission- buying the product.

I would note that if you don't have the ability to run the basic A/B tests required to validate whether HS helps, hinders, or does nothing then you should make fixing that a priority.

You'll get lots of opinions on this board and those like it which don't always match reality. Make decisions based on data whenever possible - you'll still have to make plenty guided by little more than opinion and gut feel.


 8:26 pm on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is interesting because everyone here seems so against the Hacker safe seals and I just read an article in the new edition of Internet Retailer that the Hacker Safe logo increased conversions for Petco by like 13% I believe. That is a significant increase! And that is for a name brand company who you would think already has a lot of trust associated with it. If it can help Petco so much, it should be able to help an unknown site even more.


 1:41 am on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

...and Internet Retailer is a publication whose sole mission is to hype and sell proprietary eCommerce software systems to its readership, sold by its advertisers. (in my opinion) Their articles all overflow with fawning hyperbolic praise and product placements for their biggest clients. So take it with a grain of salt.

When was the last time you saw I.R. wax all enthusiastic about an open-source solution?

Also, don't overlook all the other ways you can reassure your customers, which are in fact better, more effective and cost zero. Lots of ways to convey the message that you're on the ball as regards site security, honesty and reputation in the trade.

I remember one WebmasterWorld wag quipped that you could just mock up your own seals in PhotoShop or whatever. They'll work at least as well as those site-visitor-counters (ever stop to think that anyone can make up any number he wishes to display?) or take your choice from an abundance of straw-man website excellence awards out there, if you wish. Better yet, create a truly great site and don't feed your visitors any silly BBB.-S. or absurd Hacker-Proof seals...what a novel idea.

As for distracting your customers, I'd recommend your offsite clicks are set up to open in new windows, at the very least.


 1:39 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree with you that internet retailer might exaggerate it's stories to please it's sponsors. After all, that's how they make money. And not only in their magazine but also their conference. But would Petco lie? And more importantly would IR make up a story with facts about Petco that weren't true? Don't you think Petco might say hey, we never said that! Unless Petco is being paid by Hacker Safe to release these statements I find it a little hard to believe that it is entirely untrue. But hey, i've been wrong before.


 3:37 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Is it really the seal that gave Petco a boost or a combination of other things, such as a new promition, an improved Web site and better copy - products display? We'll never know of course.


 3:44 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes, it makes sense that Petco would have no vested interest in exaggerating the effect upon their sales from displaying a "Hacker Safe" logo. Still:
You don't know for absolutely certain if the correlation is so directly attributable to the logo itself as the single causative factor. But let's say it is.

There is still no double-blind or "placebo" test comparing those results against other available techniques: posting a logo-link to your SSL certificate provider, text describing your site security, reputation and anti-fraud measures, other seals or programs which do not require payment, or combos of the above.

The bottom line for me is: let's say you sell juice. And you know that you can add weasel-words to your product description, let's say: ALL NATURAL JUICE*, and the asterisk leads to: " *juice by-products; may or may not contain actual juice. " And let's assume that happens to be a legal way to describe your products, ie: you can get away with it just fine.

People who really know what's up, know that no website is "Hacker Safe". It's a half-truth, a spurious promise. Ma and Pa Kettle, scared Luddite Internet users that they are, they don't know better, and you're in no mood to bother enlightening them with the real 411. So you post an offical-looking seal and they're reassured when they see it. Thus you can make more money if you feed them a simple line of B.S.

If you're comfy with that, pay the money for the seal, and go for it. If you'd rather aim for a higher quality of offering, however, you have a wide range of available choices, among many better options and best of all, you don't have to feed those turkeys your money or contribute to their extortionate game. You don't need to cave in like a daft sheep, and believe the myth that if you don't display their seals you'll lose sales. If everybody caught on (I can dream, can't I?) these parasites would be out of business someday.


 10:36 pm on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I called these Turkeys once a couple of months back because I saw two major competitors using it. Their high pressure sales really turned me off and I decided to sleep on the idea for a while. They have continued to call me ever two weeks since to tell me all about the business I am loosing. Give me a break!


 1:44 pm on Mar 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Our second A/B test yielded the same results as the first. No increase in conversions for us based on using the shield.

We've requested a refund under their posted policy.


 10:46 pm on Mar 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Please let us know how the refund process goes. I am currious.


 9:05 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

They have refused to honor their guarantee.

I'm actually surprised, though not shocked.

This 46 message thread spans 2 pages: 46 ( [1] 2 > >
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