When VeriSign's authentication business passed hands to Symantec last week, nobody blinked an eye. Two security companies moving assets back and forth isn't exactly the most riveting news. Normally we wouldn't have even bothered reporting on it except for one interesting fact that piqued our interest, VeriSign's value is tied up in a logo.
Coke proved decades ago that brands have value, but in today's digital economy it still shocks us to hear that something as simple as a circle with a pixilated check mark could be worth so much. The VeriSign Trust Seal pictured above is licensed out to websites for use in e-commerce systems to try and build trust with potential customers. It might sound fishy, but a marketing survey conducted by the company showed click-through rates increased by over 18.5% for sites displaying the logo, and experienced a sales uptick as high as 36%.
According to VeriSign "One of the most important issues to users about an online retailer is its procedure for safeguarding personal data such as credit card numbers that travel over the Internet when customers make purchases. With the rampant growth of phishing and identity theft, consumers are increasingly wary about providing this information, especially to companies they do not know. Therefore one of the pieces of information TheFind publishes about retailers is the protection they employ for transmitting private data. In many cases a generic 'SSL Encryption' logo appears. When the retailer uses VeriSign SSL Certificates, however, users see the VeriSign seal."
If the VeriSign seal of approval is as valuable as they claim, Symantec might stand to make a pretty penny on the deal as e-commerce starts to go mainstream. Was $1.28 billion a good deal?