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Purchase Better Business Bureau Online Seal

Has anyone seen increased sales?



7:42 pm on Feb 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

We are looking into joining all of our websites in the bbb.org program and purchasing the seal. Since we have many websites it will be a very large upfront investment for us. Has anyone have any experiences with the bbb.org and has anyone seen a dramatic increase in sales after placing the seal on their sites? Is it worth the membership fee?


10:40 pm on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

The company I work for is the member of BBB.
When we just joined about 3 years ago we've put their logo on the payment page for 2 months - there was NO noticable increase in sales. (we sell small $20/month subscriptions). Now we removed the logo, but company is still a member. Now, if we get a "I-am-going-to-file-BBB"- customer, it's no problem...

We do, however, have a "hacker-safe" logo one of the versions of payment page. This page has about 2% better conversion, than the same page with no logo. This data took almost a year to accumulate...


1:00 am on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

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2% is in the statistical noise.

Likely ANY seal adds 2% even if it only says "caveat emptor." Few people know Latin and that sounds kinda classy.

If the BBB seal is important why do fewer B/M stores show it than 30+ years ago? Actually almost none do these days.


11:24 am on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

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As a longtime member, I can tell you:

The BBB is nothing but a franchised business. Someone owns your local one, just as if they had bought a McDonalds.

The more employees you have, the more you pay. This is a big reason you do NOT see many mid-size and large companies proudly displaying that logo.

Some areas they are run by decent people, some areas they are not. Their job is to sell memberships.

Most of the people who work there don't have a clue about online businesses, and/or ecommerce.

I hate the way they rate businesses - either 'satisfactory' or 'not satisfactory'. When someone clicks a link and sees 'satisfactory', to me that means 'average'. (One of my businesses filled over 10,000 orders one year with ZERO complaints, and I got a 50-cent certificate to frame. No mention of this, however, is made on their website, or on my BBB landing page. My business still rates 'satisfactory'.)

As for the cost, I would only consider it if you are selling very high end products, the type that the profit from a couple of sales during the course of the year could pay for the fees.

Otherwise, I don't think you're going to see a return on your $$$, especially for the 7 Grand you are talking about.


2:32 pm on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've been known to close sites that post those BBB seals

That's probably a good thing, I'm not sure if I would want you as a customer;)


2:59 pm on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I used to work at a large web company (top 200 in traffic) and we did an A/B test with the Better Business Bureau logo and without. The goal was to see how many registrations we would lose without the logo (to see if it was worth renewing).

To our incredible shock, we actually got a higher % of visitors to register WITHOUT the BB logo. This might be indicative of our site only, but it was a statistically valid sample. I don't work there anymore, but they still no longer have the BB logo on the registration page.

Just something to think about.


3:01 pm on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Google check out badges increased our sales by 15% across the board. I guess the bbb seal would target some 40+ year old's in demographics. Anything to give us an additional edge in selling online is good as long as it pays for itself. We are going to take the plunge and try it out for a year and see what it does. Even if we increase our sales by 1-2% it will pay for itself.

I was also looking at some sites that are members this past weekend, the bbb does give them a few back links which I am more than sure google will look favorably on.

So, here I go.... Thanks for the input everyone. I will keep you all posted.


3:54 pm on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I'd try testing the logo, trinorth.

I used to get solicited by the BBB all the time - they were somewhere between replacement window companies and copy machine toner salespeople in terms of aggressive sales efforts. I found that to be a complete turn-off, inasmuch as they try to present themselves as a public service.

Chancet's data is interesting - could it mean that a BBB logo makes a company "look smaller" because BBB memberships are most often associated with small, local operations?


7:40 pm on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

For the record, I have tested this in a controlled a/b situation and have found that it hurts conversion.

A couple of years ago I tried the "hacker safe" logo in an a/b situation and it hurt conversion. Recently I made a post to that affect on here. Coincidently (?) shortly thereafter I received a call from someone from hacker safe strongly urging me to try it again. It just so happend that I was about to run a bunch of a/b tests on my site. I didn't run hacker safe, but I put BBB and a couple of other seals on the first page of my shopping cart.

a/b tests on my site usually take awhile to hit statistical significance. However, of all the a/b tests I ran in this batch the "shopping cart seals" hit statistical significance to the negative faster than any other test I've seen.

Now I would never claim that these results are transferable to other industries, sites or markets. Our site has been well developed, designed and tested for strong conversion. My theory is that implicit indicators of trust (well designed, quality site) are more important that some explicit claim. I don't think that the average web surfer knows of all of the issues with BBB but I do think that showing seals may trigger some insecurity that may otherwise have been avoided. They land on the shopping cart of a site that they unconsciously trust and see these seals that say "you can trust us" and perhaps they think "oh yeah, maybe it's not safe to be giving out my credit card". It's either that or the increase load time of the images or the seals distract from the action items (checkout) enough to hurt conversion.

Anyways, take it for what it's worth. I've never seen such clear results from an a/b test in a long time.

travelin cat

9:23 pm on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator travelin_cat is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

We ran the BBB online seal for 4.5 years on our travel site. At the time we thought that it probably helped convince people that we were legit.

When we moved from Southern California to Northern California, the local chapter of the BBB complained that we should be a member of THEIR chapter not the Southern California chapter.

The Northern Cal chapter wanted to charge us almost exactly double the money for the online badge and membership as the Southern Cal chapter.

We told them to take a hike, removed the badge and all references to them.

5 years later, our business did not suffer one bit. We continue to have the same growth in a very competitive field without it.


10:17 pm on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I see it more as trying to hide something if you display hackersafe and/or the BBB seal. It's also a sign that you like pissing away money and your prices probably reflect it, so I'll go bargain hunting elsewhere.

Just my 2 cents from my years as a shopper.



12:43 am on Mar 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

People that I trust don't go out of their way telling me all the reasons why I should trust them so it immediately raises a red flag with me when they do. It makes me look for reasons not to trust them.

The few times that I have seen the BBB seal and I clicked on it, I saw complaints (however valid or invalid), and then decided to take my business elsewhere. Never have I seen the BBB seal, and because of it's existence, make a purchase when I otherwise would not have.

Any Tom, Dick, or Harry can make a complaint to the BBB and it seems they'll post it without doing any due diligence to see if it's a real complaint or not.


1:40 am on Mar 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

We purchased the seal and joined the BBB and it really did help us get off the ground. Most people on this forum don't own million dollar companies and are relatively small to medium size businesses and would benefit from the trust factor that the seal gives a site. Our site <url removed> has it and has definately seen it as worthy.

[edited by: encyclo at 2:22 am (utc) on Mar. 6, 2007]
[edit reason] no URLs please, see TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]


1:01 pm on Mar 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I used to have a link to them on my web site. No logo, just a text link that suggested people check out contractor ratings before they hire one. They were trying to sell me a membership and when I wouldn't buy they threatened me. Suggested that I was violating copyright law by having a text link to their site and no paid membership.

They started stuttering when I assured them it was no problem to take the link down. My opinion of the BBB dropped way down after that. Like rise2it said, their business is to sell memberships, and the ones in my town don't care how rude they are when they do it. I no longer have any faith in their ratings.


4:04 pm on Mar 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Okay so we've heard the pros and cons of having a BBB seal on a site. What I would like to know, from the "I see a BBB seal and run" camp what do you look for? I know this is a web and tech savvy crowd here, but the majority of the users on the web are not. So what do all the techies here look for that would be on par with what a normal(less web savvy) web user would equate a BBB type of seal with? I'm not talking about another type of seal(also not ruling it out) in as much as say a picture of the owner or a toll free number prominently displayed?

BTW - when you walk into a doctor's office do you immediately turn around after seeing the wall behind him full of his credentials? Is that trying to prove too much trust to you and do you get suspicious?


5:21 pm on Mar 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

For daily purchases, small items and such I could care less about the BBB logo however if you are extending credit to consumers then you MUST have the BBB logo.

BBB has helped me with companies that have poor billing/payment processing in so many ways it isn't funny. If you have a rogue item show up on your credit report that claims you owe them money a quick letter to the BBB and the collection agency gets action. If they're not on the BBB they typically ignore you and keep on beeting a dead horse.

so with that said, i typically won't do business with a creditor who won't work with the BBB because the BBB is a great mediator/consumer advocacy group.


12:32 pm on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The first thing I always do is check the contact info. Many places make it hard to find where a company is located and some don't provide the info at all. For some reason they think since you aren't going to their store, you don't need the info. I won't do business with a company if they don't let me know where they are located.


9:23 pm on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Great examples from the consumer products/services world (e.g. chancet & travelin cat's citations.) I'm in the B2B world; we sell online software to marketers as a monthly subscription... what about usage of BBB-type seals on B2B transactional Web sites? Anyone have any thoughts (or better yet, data) on what additional endorsements/seals may sway decisions on purchasing a product like this? Thanks!


2:38 am on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have been using Google Website Optimizer to A/B test the BBB Reliability Seal on my site since Jan. 12 of this year. My site offers two versions of a service - a free one, and a $2 one. For me a "conversion" is whether the user opts for the $2 service. Since I started the test, I'm seeing 1.34% conversion on the site with no BBB logo, and 1.4% conversion with the BBB logo. Website Optimizer says that's an improvement of 4.46%. This is based on 90,000+ impressions.

The improvement seems negligible to me.


6:23 pm on Mar 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

BBB would be a good idea if they listed an objective overview of the details of the customer complaint and the merchants response and the resolution.

Just saying there was a complaint plays on peoples insecurities and fears and does not lead to a factual appraisal of the companies business practices in my opinion.


9:02 pm on Mar 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

rise2it hit the proverbial nail on the head here. The BBB is the greatest scam to have even been done to the US consumer.

If my sites required some sort of consumer protection (they dont for reasons i wont get into here), then i would focus my efforts on Bizrate, shopping.com, or shopzilla ratings. I would even put more faith in an eBay store rating. At least there you get to see all rating PLUS responses to negatives.

The BBB is just a place for the cranky, unloved consumers (a small % of the total) to vent the frustrations of their pathetic lives.


1:41 am on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Update, week one of displaying the seal and we have seen a 3% increase in business.


12:03 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lorax is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Are you sure that's not just a seasonal increase?


6:43 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Nope, we even had a call yesterday for a larger sale, and the customer said he would go through us because we are a member of the bbb and he trusts our site more than the competitors.


8:52 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

i never saw the point in bbb ratings.

how often does a company hear "i'm going to report you to the bbb for being an excellent company"

it's usually "i'm going to report you to the bbb for doing this and that yadda yadda"

the best customers are usually the ones you never hear from. if they won't take the time to personally thank YOU, why would they waste their time creating a positive bbb report?

unless the bbb meaures reports from ALL of your customers, it's an unbalanced review of one's company.

i buy from a company based on their price and products. i don't care who's had a positive or negative experience with them before me... because it's going to be a different experience for everybody usually. different factors can measure into what makes a successful transaction.


7:55 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

If you had any doubts about the dubious structure of the BBB, here's a news story about a local BBB that signed a lease for an office, got the landlord to make $40K in improvements, and then backed out of the deal and refused to pay anything:

That entity went out of business when the territory was taken over by a different BBB entity with an almost identical name but owned by different people. The latter isn't responsible for the commitments of the former, the national BBB isn't helping, and the building owner sees no prospect for collecting what he is owed.


7:23 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I don't know that we've seen an uptick with the BBB Symbol, but keep in mind that we also use Live Chat, Hacker Safe, and various SSL seals.

The annoying thing about BBB is that you get complaints, regardless of what you do - but if you have a brick and mortar presence as well, you get this pretty plaque - or at least our bbb gave us one.

I think HackerSafe has helped us with conversions, but so has Live Chat - since we didn't do multivariate testing with them, I can't provide a statistical answer.

As an aside, HackerSafe charges a boatload of money. Get a price quote from Control Scan first (which is typically cheaper, say $500-$900), and then when HS gives you some nutty price, tell them that Control Scan gave you a better offer. They should match it.


7:47 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I am reasonably new, and I have not read all of this thread. But first thing is first, do you understand what the BBB is? They are a mediation group. If you, as a customer have a problem with a company, and that company refuses to correct the problem, then you can contact the BBB. When you contact the BBB, they are going to ask you to communicate with the company. Then after you file a report, they will take a few weeks, and contact the company themselves. They will play "mediator". From my understanding they have no "real significant legal rights" in the situation. They are just a neutral third party to "Help" with a problem. As a "gimmick" to get you to "buy" into their organization, they will give you a "good" reputation. That is, until you get three complaints, and I think then, they give you boot. It has been a several years since I checked into it, but I view it the same way as the Chamber of Commerce here in Texas. Why pay for what you are not getting?


8:39 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

We've had complaints, say about 15 over 3 years. All have been settled in our favor, actually. I just think the BBB will give you a bad rating if you screw up consistently.


1:41 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That is, until you get three complaints, and I think then, they give you boot.

Only 3 complaints?

When a company is processing 100's or 1000's of orders a week, the odds are it will not be a member long.

Maybe this is the reason that tacky BBB logo is not plastered on the big time online websites.

Makes the case for the logo denoting a small mom and pop operation I would think.


5:54 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Only 3 complaints?

When a company is processing 100's or 1000's of orders a week, the odds are it will not be a member long.

Maybe this is the reason that tacky BBB logo is not plastered on the big time online websites.

Makes the case for the logo denoting a small mom and pop operation I would think.

In our industry, there are many companies in the $50-100 millon in revenue range that are members... We have found that it has help our conversions along with the hacker safe logo and an 800 number.

This 61 message thread spans 3 pages: 61

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