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Industry has long argued for self-regulation with respect to privacy, and the various non-profit privacy seal programs are the cornerstone of industry's efforts. The privacy seal programs require a website to undergo a thorough review of its privacy practices and to conform to a benchmark standard. As of last year, 8% of all websites participated in a seal program, and 45% of the top 100 sites were seal holders.
For consumers, the seal programs provide a trusted, independent third party that reviews and hopefully holds websites to a higher standard. They also provide a method of recourse for consumers who have a privacy complaint.
For businesses, the privacy seal programs are a way to advertise your privacy best practices and to gain instant credibility among consumers. The trust conveyed by these programs is particularly important for reaching the large segment of web surfers who are wary of e-commerce because they have lingering privacy and security concerns.
These programs are relatively inexpensive, but compliance requires a fair amount of work, particularly if your business operates multiple websites. Take a look:
Sample Privacy Seals:
Direct Marketing Association Privacy Promise