PricewaterhouseCoopers Introduces Web Seal Program

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PricewaterhouseCoopers, New York, jumped into the Web-site approval business last week with the BetterWeb seal program, which it said addresses the aspects of online transactions it identified as most important to consumers: sales terms, privacy, security and customer complaint procedures.


More than 30 Web sites have applied for the BetterWeb seal, including leading travel and consumer goods sites, financial services and technology sites. BetterWeb joins three other online seal programs: WebTrust, a highly specialized service from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, New York; TRUSTe, Palo Alto, CA; and BBBOnline, a subsidiary of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Washington.


To differentiate itself from the other programs, the company began a marketing campaign last week with ads in national newspapers created by Hill, Holiday, Connors & Cosmopulos, Boston.


"Our research identified a number of key factors that have prevented online browsers from becoming online buyers," said Maryann Murphy, leader of the BetterWeb program. "The BetterWeb seal will help businesses address those factors head on, with better standards for conducting business online."


The program appeals to businesses that see the value of improved communications and upfront disclosure notices, Murphy said, adding that the $15,000 annual fee included analysis and specialized recommendations. The company is considering different fee structures for nonprofit organizations.

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