American Greetings Tops OTA's Online Trust Honor Roll, Walmart Comes In #7
By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Most Trustworthy e-retail websites ranked in 2014 Honor Roll
The 2014 Online Trust Honor Roll is out, created by the Online Trust Alliance (OTA), a non-profit group whose mission is to enhance online trust and use empowerment and promote innovation.
Out of nearly 800 top consumer websites evaluated in 2014, 28.8 percent made the Honor Roll, distinguishing themselves by safeguarding data via best practices in three categories: domain/brand protection, privacy and security. Nearly 70 percent didn’t qualify with 52.7 percent failing in at least one of the three categories. Of equal concern, only 4 percent of the News/Media segment qualified, raising concerns regarding the data security and privacy practices of the world's largest news and media sites.
“Our 2014 Honor Roll recipients have demonstrated a commitment toward responsible management of sensitive consumer data and privacy,” said OTA Executive Director and President Craig Spiezle in a press release. “OTA commends the companies who made this list—but remains concerned about the failures of some of the world’s largest online brands.”
With growing concerns over cybercrime and data breaches, this comprehensive audit underscores the importance of continued monitoring of security and privacy practices and the risks of becoming complacent.
The highest overall trustworthiness score went to social networking market leader for the second consecutive year. Of all sectors analyzed, the “Social 50”—comprised of social networking, gaming and dating websites—outpaced all others in terms of average score and percentage of companies on the Honor Roll (50 percent).
Among the Internet Retailer 500, American Greetings came in with the highest score, thanks in large part to its management’s commitment to collaboration and data sharing.
The 2014 top 10 most trustworthy online retailers (11 due to a tie) are:
- American Greetings
- Christian Book Distributors
- Sony Electronics
- Big Fish
- JackThreads & Zulily
“These companies represent a broad spectrum, ranging from the fourth highest revenue earner among retailers to the 476th highest,” said Spiezle. “This validates that the Honor Roll is achievable by retailers of all sizes and that the criteria is not onerous or costly to achieve.”
The slight decline in success rates among all evaluated websites may be attributed in part to more stringent security standards, as well as the addition of a new category—the top 50 news and media sites. The online media sector fared poorly in its debut, with only a 4 percent success rate and a 62 percent fail rate. Discounting the news sector, the overall percentage of Honor Roll members remained at par with 2013 at 32.1 percent.
Among the Internet Retailer 500, online merchants showed strong growth in email authentication, as 88 percent complied with recommended best practices. However, their privacy policies need improvement, as more than one-third of the sector failed in that regard.
OTA used a combination of resources, including Alexa, comScore, the FDIC, government rankings and Internet Retailer Magazine’s Internet Retailer 500, to determine which organizations to evaluate. The complete 2014 Audit & Honor Roll report and methodology can be accessed at https://otalliance.org/HonorRoll.