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What are Extended Validation SSL certificates and are they worth the cost?

VeriSign Secured Logo

In the early days Verisign had the market cornered and was able to charge a premium for their certs, but for a few years now Comodo’s instant SSL and others have rightfully turned the SSL cert into a commodity.  All SSL certificates do the same thing,  so without added value price is the only advantage and every one’s margins plummeted.  Over the last few years Verisign has successfully leveraged their trust logo to increase their margin and your conversion ratio, but it didn’t add anything in terms of actual security

With all SSL vendors needing something new and profitable to sell. Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificates were created.  What’s funny is that these ‘new’ EV SSL certificate are just the old time consuming ‘verification’ procedures we had to go though before companies like Comodo streamlined things with the less secure ‘domain validation’. 

It used to be when applying for an SSL certificate you had to make the request on company letterhead, signed by a company official with proof that you owned the domain for which the SSL certificate was being applied for.  Today you need only be able to receive an email sent to your domain’s registered admin email address and click the included ‘verification’ link to get your cert.  Which is clearly a low bar to pass. 

The New EV SSL certificates while not technically new do provide a cool green address bar and when issued by a strong brand such as Verisign might increase conversion ratios. 

The EV SSL green URL bar.
The EV SSL green URL bar. Limited browser support at this time.

The bottom line: You might want to work harder and longer at getting your SSL certificate, especially if you’re doing a bit of business and  the verifiable (however minor) increase in conversion ratio is worth the cost. 

Why doesn’t AbleCommerce use EV SSL’s? Pretty simple we’ve been in business for nearly two decades and the Verisign logo doesn’t affect our conversion ratio as much as it might others.

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