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Sence of security secures sales

Sometimes, people ask me about security or liability issues online. I do teach some of the realities in my college courses, but I'm far from being an expert in this field and I always recommend checking with a competent, legal professional in every case. But here are some of my thoughts ...

How We Benefit From Our Clients' Security

Once, a client asked me, "Why should I spend time and effort on making the transactions to my website secure?" He continued, "It's not that I don't care for my customers safety when we talk about their credit cards, but what benefit do I get from protecting them? What do I avoid if I secure them? Is there any type of law against insecure sites? Can my customers sue me if I don't secure my website?" I think it's a good question.

Security is virtually a non-issue these days on the web -- I teach ebusiness at a local college and mentioned to my students that, in the second edition of one of our textbooks, a whole chapter on security has been reduced to a mere page. That's how much the issue of security has changed.

However, keep in mind that it's really all about perception. There is still a percentage of people who fear buying on the web. While shrinking, the fear will still be around for a while -- especially due to the fact that more and more people are connecting to the web and their knowledge is fairly limited (specifically their knowledge about online security).

The more you cater to their perception (or better yet, their insecurity), the more sales you'll make. Needless to say, there's also the issue of the business side of things. On the web, there are many new businesses -- just as much as new netizens. And many of these are scams and frauds -- so comes the question of credibility from the consumer's perspective. As a matter of fact, there was a case lately of a person who copied a well-known, corporate business site (graphics, forms and all), and the scamster literally "ran off with the money."

Security is a Two-Way Street...

In short, security protects more than the potential harm from hackers. They also protect ebusinesses and clients from fraud. With SET -- secure electronic transactions, originally developed by Visa -- for example, credit card numbers are not even seen by the merchant. They go directly to the credit card provider and the money is deposited into the specific merchant's bank. SET uses digital certificates in order to identify both the customer and the merchant. In fact, SET authenticates all parties involved (including the bank).

In other words, the merchant knows that the person using the card is who they say they are, and the client knows that the merchant is who they say they are. It is even said that shopping online is now more secure than actually buying offline. But for the business, it definitely helps to reduce consumer fraud. (For more on SET, visit http://www.setco.org.)

(By the way, at this point I doubt that SET will ever become a standard because it is too cumbersome and complex. But After September 11, security has taken on a new meaning and importance. We will likely see more and more biometrical hardware and software, such as voice recognition, digital fingerprinting, retinal scans, etc.)

But there are no laws requiring any kind of security... Yet.

As far as legal recourse is concerned, I don't think there is enough ground for liability. I'm not a lawyer by any means, but as far as I know laws are being defined right now in order to cover the area of ecommerce. And I'm sure there will come a time when clients *may* sue merchants.

In my opinion, it's like being responsible for your client's welfare once they're inside your store in the brick-and-mortar world. But I also assume that eventually, like the brick-and-mortar world, liability insurance will cover that too. It's all a matter of time -- and not much of it either.

About the author
Michel Fortin is a direct response copywriter and consultant dedicated to turning sales messages into powerful magnets. Get a free copy of his book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning," when you subscribe to his free monthly ezine, "The Profit Pill." See http://SuccessDoctor.com/ now!

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