November 4, 2004, 12:00 AM

VeriSign moves to shore up trust in e-payments in time for holiday shopping

VeriSign`s new “trust mark” allows online shoppers to click on the mark and verify a retailer’s full legal name, determine the validity of the retailer’s Secure Sockets Layer certificate and view the company’s city and state of incorporation.

With the holiday shopping season beginning in earnest, VeriSign Inc. is rolling out a program the company says will help shoppers feel more secure when making purchases over the web.

Results of a survey Harris Interactive conducted for VeriSign indicate that 90% of Americans plan to do at least as much shopping online this holiday season as they did last year. But concerns persist about the safety and security of purchasing merchandise over the web, the survey says. Harris Interactive says 31% of Americans cite concern over security issues such as identity theft as a key factor that deters them from doing more shopping online. The research also finds that 74% of Americans who have made an online purchase in the past seek some kind of security logo when determining whether or not to make a purchase from an e-commerce site.

Today e-commerce companies and retailers who use VeriSign’s payments processing and fraud prevention applications display a “trust mark” on their site that informs shoppers that their transaction will be processed over a secure web connection.

In time for the holiday shopping season, VeriSign is introducing a newly designed trust mark. VeriSign is making the mark more recognizable and interactive. Customers can click on the mark, get linked to a VeriSign server, and verify a retailer’s full legal name, determine the validity of the retailer’s Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate and view the merchants’ city and state of incorporation.

The new VeriSign mark is available to new and existing retailers and companies using VeriSign’s payments processing services or Public Key Infrastructure, or PKI, applications. Among web retailers beginning to use the enhanced mark are The Ansel Adams Gallery, Circuit City, Omaha Steaks, CompUSA, and Godiva Chocolatier.

To help market the new mark to consumers, VeriSign created a new security education site, VerisignSecured.com, and launched a major online advertising campaign in October on destinations such as Yahoo.com, MSN.com, CNN.com. CNET.com and others.

The marketing campaign will run through the holiday shopping season and is expected to generate more than 500 million page impressions from shoppers who want to read up on shopping safely over the Internet, says Tim Callan, VeriSign group product marketing manager.

Eventually more than 13,000 web sites will display the new mark, Callan says.

VeriSign says it has more than 375,000 digital certificates installed on U.S. and international web servers and processes up to 30% of all North American e-commerce transactions on its payments systems.

“The mark gives consumers that recognizable icon to quickly and easily identify real businesses online that protect sensitive information from personal computers to web sites,” says Mike Foley, vice president, VeriSign Security Services.

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