May 7, 2010

How to Get a TRUSTe Certificate


Hostway Team

By Melissa J Luther

For Internet users, trusting a Web site plays a big role in decisions about visiting or purchasing on the site. One thing that boosts trust in a site is the presence of a third party trust symbol. TRUSTe is one of the leading companies providing trust seals.

Programs TRUSTe Offers

TRUSTe offers varying levels of trust seals, depending on the size and needs of your business. Enterprise-level services from TRUSTe include:

  • Web Privacy Seal
  • Email Privacy Seal
  • Children’s Privacy Seal
  • Trusted Download Program
  • Site Reputation Services
  • EU Safe Harbor Seal

Most small and mid-sized businesses don’t need this level of service, so TRUSTe also offers more affordable Small & Medium Business privacy and seal programs. The Standard program is $499 per year, covers one Web site and offers:

  • The TRUSTe Seal with 500 views per day
  • Standard Privacy Policy Generation
  • Privacy Scanning
  • Dispute Resolution

You may also upgrade to 2500 seal views per day for $699 per year or TRUSTe’s Premium service with unlimited seal views on up to two Web sites for $995 per year.

The Professional program certifies your existing privacy policy or provides personalized assistance to create one and offers unlimited seal views. Prices start at $995 per year.

The TRUSTe Product Selector can help you determine which program best fits your needs.

How to Apply for a TRUSTe Certificate

To qualify for a TRUSTe certificate, your business practices must include:

  • Notifying Web site users of how their personal information is used
  • Giving users a choice regarding your use of their data
  • Providing a way for users to access and correct their information
  • Security measures to protect users’ data

If you feel you meet these requirements, you can start the application process online at the TRUSTe Certification Center. When you create your initial account, you will need to answer a few questions, including:

  • Whether your company is located within the US
  • Whether your Web site is live and
  • Whether all your sites use identical privacy statements, if you are certifying more than one
  • Whether TRUSTe has previously certified your business

In addition to the initial online application, you will need to submit to TRUSTe:

  • Your current online privacy statement, if you have one. If you don’t have one, TRUSTe will help you generate one, either using an online questionnaire or with the help of a TRUSTe representative
  • A completed TRUSTe self-assessment form, to assess your business’ data-management practices
  • A completed TRUSTe service agreement

Once you’ve completed your initial application, you will need to speak with a TRUSTe representative to go over the specifics of your site, the review process and any additional information TRUSTe might require, as well as any questions you have.

The time required for TRUSTe to certify your Web site will depend on various aspects of your site and current privacy practices, but with the Standard privacy program, it’s possible to receive your seal within two business days.

About the Author

Melissa J Luther, owner and founder of LookSee Information Solutions, LLC, helps small businesses create and maintain a strong Internet presence. She takes a multi-channel approach, with a well-optimized Web site as the center of an Internet presence that includes content creation, PPC advertising, linking and social media as appropriate.

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