Recently updated on September 7th, 2023

Trust-based marketing plays a central part in consumers overcoming threats of security on the web. However, does the latest marketing trend of site seals actually diminish this threat or play a more active role in deception and a sense of false security when it comes to consumers sharing personal information?

These behaviors on the web are essential to research due to the adoption of e-commerce, thus trust is a critical marketing concept for website adoption and is used more as a sales tool of deception.


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The average consumer does not know the technology used in e-commerce transactions thus they rely on media coverage and trends for information on what to watch out for when buying online. It starts with SSL encryption. Media has overused the words SSL and encryption. Again early e-commerce sales were marketing based on “SSL encryption” but if you ask the average Joe what SSL encryption is you will get average Joe Answers.

“The key in the browser”, ”it encrypts my credit card”, “It protects my information”.

All of this information is marketing propaganda. SSL encrypts the web browser traffic from the client to the web server. It does keep prying eyes that are watching the traffic stream from capturing the data, but once it hits the web server your data is free game.

So why is this important in the research for privacy seals? It sets a background to show that marketing directly affects the sense of trust and security without knowing what the technology is actually doing.

The problem:

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The problem is human nature it is our nature to trust. However, online it is our nature not to trust. So when marketing ploys are shown to us we change our mental state, our moral choices, and rationalistic reasoning.

A computer or program has no moral sense and relies on programmatic computations. So our trust is questioned, are we trusting a computer or are we trusting a company?

In actuality, you would be trusting the designer, creator, and management of the computer or technology who has implemented the programmatic computations into the computer. In this scenario, marketing can overshadow a violation of trust in this chain and could cause a breach in security with your personal information.


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Trust is important to establish to help consumers overcome perceptions. Most e-commerce sites produce trust through marketing and attempt to engage the consumer with trust-related behaviors.

So if establishing SSL keys and Web site privacy seals creates that sense of trust then what if hackers play off of the “accept it and forget it” attitude and set up sites that market to trust to collect your personal information?

The Theory is consumers on the internet are driven by visual representation of safety. The research will show that consumers will hand over unquestioned, personal information to sites that advertise privacy and security without investigating the company’s legitimacy over a legitimate company that does not deploy trust-based marketing.

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