Foreclosures.com has been helping individuals navigate the real estate world since 1995, offering information and expertise on how to buy and sell properties as well as avoid foreclosure.
With the current economic downturn, some entrepreneurs have launched similar foreclosure information services, amplifying the importance of a high converting web site. As competitors aggressively bid on similar keywords and focus on site optimization to boost their organic rankings, Foreclosures.com CTO Dave Nespole has to remain nimble and creative to maintain his company’s visibility and industry leadership.
Another focus is data security; maintaining the company’s compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standard, and ensuring that customers feel comfortable providing personal information when subscribing. Nespole wanted to replace a separate PCI Approved Scan Vendor (ASV) with a bundled service including PCI, vulnerability and web application security scanning, in addition to a site security trustmark. In the summer of 2008, he discovered McAfee SECURE service.
For thousands of retailers, the McAfee SECURE Service has proven highly effective at reassuring their site visitors that their personal information – should they choose to give it to the retailer when purchasing - will be safer and more secure. The technical foundation of the McAfee SECURE service is comprehensive scanning that tests the security of Web sites daily for more than 10,000 threats to help determine they are secure. In addition to this daily hacker testing, sites that earn the McAfee SECURE trustmark also undergo a series of periodic tests for accidental practices that can lead to bad publicity and lost customer confi dence. For example, McAfee SECURE testing includes checks for unwitting linking to malicious Web sites, the hidden presence of browser exploit code, and the accidental sharing of customer e-mail data with spammers.
Once certifi ed to the McAfee SECURE data security standard, sites can then display the McAfee SECURE trustmark, in addition to being identifi ed in McAfee SiteAdvisor software, as a safe and secure place to shop. Through the free download of McAfee SiteAdvisor software, Certifi ed McAfee SECURE sites are highlighted in Google, Microsoft Live and Yahoo! search results to the millions of shoppers.
“We run our business with integrity and we wanted to make access to our online resources as transparent as possible. I thought that having a well-known company like McAfee provide third-party verifi cation of our site’s security to visitors and customers would be very valuable.”
During the McAfee SECURE service implementation, he worked with McAfee’s technical support staff to remediate security issues discovered during the initial security review, as well as review design mockups with various trustmark positions.
“The McAfee SECURE service helps our customers understand that this is a safe place to do business.”Dave Nespole
“McAfee SECURE scanning is excellent and gave us more information than we had previously obtained from our PCI scans. It helped us understand more about our site security and ways we could avoid possible problems in the future.”
Having met the McAfee SECURE data security standard as well as select a prominent position for the McAfee SECURE trustmark, Nespole next focused on generating data to prove the long-term value of the service to the company owners. He opted for a classic A/B methodology in which 50% of visitors would see the McAfee SECURE trustmark, while the other half (the control group) would not.
Results and ROI
During the test period, Foreclosures.com registered 2,359 total orders. Shoppers seeing the McAfee SECURE trustmark converted 9.7% higher–representing 109 additional orders–than those who did not see it. Nespole was delighted.
“Before we started, I thought that a 10% increase would be signifi cant. A large sample and a clear trend convinced those in the company who had been a little skeptical when I fi rst proposed this project. The reason is simple; McAfee SECURE service helps our customers understand that this is a safe place to do business.”
For one low annual fee, the McAfee SECURE trustmark has increased subscriptions, eliminated the previous cost of the PCI ASV, and helped improve the security of the company’s self-hosted web infrastructure. Having convinced the owners, it is an investment Nespole is happy to make.