June 13, 2014, 4:03 PM

American Greetings is the most trustworthy e-retail site

The greeting card retailer topped the annual Online Trust Honor Roll, according to the Online Trust Alliance. More than three-quarters of e-retail sites analyzed did not meet criteria for the honor roll.

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American Greetings Corp., No. 254 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, topped the list of the most-trustworthy retail web sites, according to the Online Trust Alliance’s annual Online Trust Honor Roll, which analyzes the trustworthiness of web sites based on data protection, privacy and security.

But only 24% of the web sites operated by e-retailers in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide were named to the 2014 Online Trust Honor Roll.

“That means 75% are not as trustworthy as they should be,” Craig Spiezle, the executive director of the Online Trust Alliance, told attendees at the 2014 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition.

For the past five years, the Online Trust Alliance has conducted the Online Trust Honor Roll analysis. The 2014 Online Trust Honor Roll was released at IRCE. The report examines the brand protection, security and privacy protection practices of more than 800 web sites, including those maintained by merchants in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Sites were analyzed based on the adoption of industry-accepted best practices, open standards and privacy policies and practices that comply with industry norms.

This year, 30.2% of the 800 web sites analyzed made the honor roll, putting the Internet Retailer Top 500 slightly behind the pack with 24%. When looking at the Top 100 e-retailers, the percentage increases to 35%. The report says larger retailers have more often been the targets of cyberattacks, have deeper security and privacy staffing, and are more conscious about their reputation following cyberattacks. “These factors have led them to more likely be early adopters of the outlined best practices,” the report said.

The report also looked at which sites failed certain security, protection and privacy benchmarks; not making the Honor Roll does not necessarily mean a site failed. Among the Top 100, 47% of sites failed; among the Top 500, 57% failed. The biggest area of failure for e-retail sites was privacy, where 34% of sites in the Top 500 and Top 100 failed.

E-retailers improved their e-mail authentication from previous years. Adoption by Top 500 e-retailers rose from 56% in 2013 to 74% in 2014. The Top 100 e-retailers had the highest adoption rate of any sector, with 88% of them using best practices for e-mail authentication. The Top 100 also showed a jump in the percentages of retailers meeting privacy policy and third-party tracking standards, improving from 63.0% in 2013 to 80.1% in 2014.

At IRCE, Spiezle stressed the importance of adapting security policies for mobile applications. Mimicking a web site privacy policy in a mobile app is not going to work, he said. And privacy issues can affect a brand’s reputation. “If you don’t have a systematic, holistic view of these issues, everything you put into your brand will be for naught,” he said.

Spiezle said SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, which is a protocol to encrypt and secure information on the Internet, is “dismal” for mobile apps.

And because of mobile devices’ abilities to track users’ locations, data and contacts, mobile apps are going to have to be even more careful about security. “Mobile is going to be facing a lot more scrutiny because of its added abilities,” said Gian Fulgoni, the executive chairman and co-founder of comScore Inc., a web measurement firm.

Following are the retail web sites receiving Top 10 honors, followed by their Internet Retailer Top 500 ranking:

1. American Greetings, No. 254

2. Netflix, No. 7

3. Christian Book Distributors, No. 467

4. Sony Electronics, No. 20

5. Ancenstry.com, No. 63

6. Big Fish Games, No. 172

7. Walmart.com, No. 4

8. Newegg, No. 17

9. Books-A-Million, No. 476

10. JackThreads.com, No. 264

10. zulily, No. 55

 

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