Web seals: fact or fiction?
A web seal looks impressive doesn’t it? But does anyone actually know what they mean?
Seriously, does anyone take the time to read them?
Even more important, a legit seal links to a site that tells you what that seal means. Does anyone take the time to click on them?
Even “real” seals can be faked. This article from Consumer Reports describes how a site can grab a legit seal, such as one from the BBB, which links to an exact copy of the “real” BBB site, which opens to a page showing a AAA+ rating for their bogus company, but is actually hosted by some scammer in backwoods China. (Assuming there are backwoods in China.)
This is like your standard phishing schemes, where scammers link to fake bank or credit card sites (and lately, World of Warcraft logins) hoping you won’t notice.
You know how to beat these phishers right? Before you click on any link, hover your mouse over it to see where it is actually going to take you. Practice with the seal above!
Then when you get to a site, before entering anything important (passwords, email addresses, credit card numbers, paypal, world of warcraft account) make sure you have a secure connection (https://) and your browser is happy with the web site’s signature. E.g. a bank site should say “Verified by Verisign, Inc.” or another one of the big name verification sites when you hover over the “https”.
Regardless, seals do make a web site appear important. As pop music and reality television have taught us, appearance is far more important than substance. (I’m not talking about you and me, of course — we have both.)
Even if your web site already sparkles like evening sunlight on turquoise ocean wavelets, an official-looking seal with something that sounds important on it can only make your web site better.
And as we have already established, no one is going to look that closely at it anyway.
So for a limited time only, the first 50 people to respond to this post are eligible to join the Random Website Alliance as Founding members.
Early membership benefits include:
- the right to put this beautiful seal anywhere on your web site
- waived joining fee
- waived mandatory up-front contribution
- waived first year membership dues
- waived second year membership dues
- the right to answer “Yes” whenever someone asks you “Are you a founding member of the Random Website Alliance?”
Note: All seals here were created by me, using the GIMP. Feel free to use any of these seals in your own stuff, but please credit the creator (and a link to here would be nice). Credit from me goes to Tabatha Bundesen for the image of Tard, the infamous grumpy cat.