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Fear - A Primary Reason For The Decline In Sales

Survey indicates 25% of those polled have stopped buying online



12:40 pm on Oct 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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

From Wired News
As identity theft has grown, so has fear of being victimized through high-tech means. A new study finds some computer users are cutting back on time spent surfing the internet. Some have also stopped buying altogether on the web.



8:22 pm on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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

Nobody would be AFRAID if it wasn't for UNSCRUPULOUS JOURNALISTS trying to push news shows, papers and magazines turning a mole hill into a mountain and NOT TELLING THE ENTIRE TRUTH!

a) most identity theft is from dumpster diving and other sources so SHRED SHRED SHRED

b) online fraud/theft hurts the MERCHANT, not the CONSUMER although they may be mildly inconvenienced

Do you think the journalists tell people this?


You're safer shopping online that you are at the grocery store or dining out unless you pay cash.

'Nuff said.


12:51 am on Oct 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hacker Safe. We ran it on our site and conversion went down by a statistically significant amount. We took it off and conversion came back up.

Peter Cornstalk

3:55 am on Oct 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I had my AMEX number stolen by an employee of Denny's in Seattle and fraudulent charges placed on it.

I also had a Chase Visa card I never used have a charge show up on it. Apparently they even used a PIN so it was Verified by Visa. I don't even know what the PIN is! It is not too hard to figure out it was an inside job.

Never had a fradulent charge from a Internet purchase.

Everyone is willing to hand their cards over to just about anyone in a restaurant or store without thinking twice.


The banks really don't want customers to know they are protected so they can sell them extra insurance and identity theft services that they don't need. They are the ones stoking the media so they burn out of control over it.

SixtyTwo 101

12:30 pm on Oct 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

Identity Theft, Just wondering outloud: Are we providing enough possibilities for customers to deicide how to pay? Perhaps some just feel more comfortable with an alternate method of payment... without out credit cards.

Zaragoza, Spain


6:58 pm on Oct 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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

Everyone is willing to hand their cards over to just about anyone in a restaurant or store without thinking twice.

Yes, and they walk away with your card where they could easily write down your name, account number AND the CVV/CSC/or whatever it's called this week on the back of the card.

However, one clever hacker combined with a vulnerable software package, poor server admin and sloppy merchant can cause a buttload of pain.

Hackers do get online information every now and then.

Here's a few actual ecommerce attacks I've seen on live servers.

Although online CCs are encrypted once a hacker breaks into a server what the hacker can do to access the credit cards is as follows:

1) Hack the credit card decrypt "password" page to get the credit card decryption password saved / transmitted somewhere and later download all the orders and decrypt them. This hack can work for a long time undetected once the password is breached.

2) Hack the "save order" page to either make a plain text file of order information as each order is saved or send in real-time via email or a socket connected directly to another server. This too is fairly undetectable by most merchants

3) Replace the encryption key with the hackers key for a weekend or over night and get all the credit cards. This method isn't too swift as the mechant figures out he can't decrypt the credit cards and shuts down the hacker.

How merchants can protect themselves

The best way to stop credit cards from being vulnerable is to use real-time payment processing and simply not store credit cards in your local database whatsoever. This makes your site safe from hack #1 an #3 above. The merchant online just needs to know the transaction number and that it was successful as they can check the payment gateway admin pages for more information if needed.

If you want to be completely safe with real-time payments, assuming your payment processor is more secure than your site will ever be, you can collect all of the information EXCEPT the credit card part and pass the transaction to the payment processor for collecting the credit card information only as most provide this facility. In this scenario you're safe from ever exposing credit cards as hack #1, #2 and #3 no longer apply and there is no way to intercept UNLESS they install a phishing page between the web site and the payment processor, but setting up phishing is a buttload of work beyond what most quick in and out hacker theives want as the longer you stay around the easier it is to get caught.

For ecommerce sites that do post-processing of payments, not in real-time, I always tell customers to purge orders as they've been downloaded to minimize their exposure. However, if you must leave orders online for order tracking and such then at a minimum remove the credit card number after processing the order.

Not that every web site has intruders as most don't, but it never hurts to minimize your exposure at any length.


1:17 am on Nov 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The merchant online just needs to know the transaction number and that it was successful as they can check the payment gateway admin pages for more information if needed.

The gateway I use requires transaction number, credit card number, and expiration date if I want to credit a purchase back (e.g. handle returns). The gateway only stores the last 4 digits of the card number, so I need to store the rest myself.


7:51 pm on Nov 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I've always found that there is a vast differece between what a consumer says and what they actually do. Every other internet shopper out there would probably say that they are concerned about security. 1 in 4 might say they have stopped shopping online. But the fact is, when it gets to be crunch time for the holidays... When their kid's "must have" toy is sold out at every nearby store... Heck, when they just aren't talking to a surveyer on the phone... they will make a purchase online.

I have seen again and again customers say that they dislike some feature or other, but when the numbers are run, there is absolutly no difference in conversion.

People lie. Numbers do not.


2:06 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

There is no decline at all in online sales due to overall lack of buyer confidence ,when you are talking about established savy ecommerce business owners. The ongoing and increasing problem is the flood of new merchants hitting the web running. Most of these new merchants have zero training in marketing, have not a clue how to design a user friendly website, and it all shows, painfully so to the increasingly savy web shopper.

When the site looks like garbage, contact info is hard to find if available at all, the FAQ is nearly non-exisitent, emails are not answered, the phone goes to voice mail... smart shoppers do not shop.

Now, poll those merchants, and they will tell you that sales are weak. Gee, you think?

You have people from all industries coming to the web trying to supplement rolled back wages, or the income of a family member who got layed off (downsized, offshored, outsourced). They might have been a brick layer or a nurse, perhaps even a computer programmer. What do they know about marketing or ecommerce website design? Very little.

Worst yet, you have every minimally savy web designer who can point and click a mouse setting up ecommerce websites. The sites are frequently a train wreck. Then, you have website design clients that want you to build a site, want it seo and user friendly, then tie your hands and won't let you do the work properly.

There are a combination of problems here, all originating with the business owner, that have lowered visitor confidence. Fraud is on their mind, no doubt. But, it is the red flags set off on the site that send them leaving a site without a sale. The business owner can see the site stats, but doesn't understand them. The site stats tell the story, and present obvious solutions to the problems, if only the business owner really understood them.

I read through these forums heavily. The most common problem I see is failure to do proper research. Nearly every mystery presented here on this board is the result of bad research, bad understanding of site stats, bad understanding of serps, and too little time spent on both. Most come to the forum, looking for answers. Rarely are they found here. What they find are comforting words from others who are suffering. There are thousands of reasons for the afflictions webmasters face and no two situations are identical.

But, the one thing they all have incommon is failure to understand marketing, and understanding how to understand and use the information they have about their traffic,

Those sites who have done a proper job of setting up their business, and who can effectively manage stats, sales continually grow.

It is like the waiter who brings my meal to me, before having the sense to remove my empty salad and soup dishes. I have a crowded table, no place to put the dishes, as he stands there with hot plates. He is getting a lower tip from me, and has no idea why.

If he delivers raw bacon, a burnt steak, or a pile of mushy green beans to me, he likely won't get a tip at all. Quality control is the waiter's job. It is up to him to say to that cook, he will not deliver that garbage to the customer. It is not my job to train a waiter, instead to fairly compensate him for a job well done.

Apply that to ecommerce, and the results are the same. Poor sloppy, unprofessional display of an obviously poorly constructed, over priced product on an ecommerce site equals poor compensation.

It's not rocket science.


9:43 am on Nov 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

these days technology has advanced and fear is no longer a tangible reason for not buying online - if people are really concerned there are services online like EntroPay that allow you to create virtual disposable VISA cards and pay online.
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