San Francisco, Calif. – September 27, 2010 - TRUSTe, provider of the leading online privacy trustmark, today announced a new privacy program for businesses to now certify their mobile applications and mobile websites with the highly-recognized TRUSTe Privacy Seal. Building on its mission to extend trust to any online platform, TRUSTe’s new certification program defines privacy for mobile Internet usage, giving businesses the ability to quickly reassure mobile customers that they can trust the applications with their personal information. The program is already being adopted in early deployments by Apartments.com, Breastcancer.org, GoDaddy.com, The Weather Channel, WebMD and Yelp, among others.
“In less than three years, mobile phones are predicted to exceed PCs as the most common Web access device,” said Chris Babel, CEO of TRUSTe. “The exploding mobile market has irrevocably altered the privacy landscape for both device manufacturers and consumers. With our leadership background in online privacy, TRUSTe is uniquely poised to address consumer concerns on this new frontier, while helping application providers build trust – which drives conversion – and stay ahead of regulatory demands.”
Key new features of the TRUSTed Mobile Apps program include a layered privacy notice easily accessible through the mobile device, a new micro seal that is clearly visible and more easily read from even the smallest mobile device screens, and cross-platform monitoring to ensure extra-sensitive location data is handled properly – particularly as it relates to children and safety. Companies can now expand their reach to harness the power of the mobile platform – by delivering applications, services, marketing incentives and tangible goods – all while maintaining the integrity of their brand through the use of TRUSTe’s respected trustmark.
“The expanding mobile market – and the enormous opportunity it presents – mandates a new dedicated approach to privacy,” continued Babel. “Because the confidence that is taken for granted today on PCs does not automatically extend to mobile devices, companies must differentiate themselves and reassure consumers about privacy. The new, mobile-optimized TRUSTe seal and privacy notice and its accompanying privacy choices substantially increase users’ trust, which in turn raises customer engagement and interactions levels.”
With its TRUSTed Mobile Apps program, TRUSTe addresses significant privacy differences between the mobile ecosystem (where the consumer experience is controlled by the platform, the device and the applications) and the PC world (which is comprised of standard browsers and large websites). TRUSTe’s dedicated mobile privacy approach opens up opportunities for existing businesses branching into the mobile sector by having a smooth migration path and trusted partner to handle privacy issues; while also offering mobile-centric companies a dedicated offering with unparalleled privacy services and already proven conversion benefits.
“Privacy is an important issue and we’re pleased to see these types of initiatives taken by our members,” said Michael Becker, North American Managing Director for the MMA. “As the mobile web continues to be an access point for consumers, we encourage TRUSTe and all of our members to focus on privacy concerns and provide solutions that are in the consumers’ best interest.”
In addition to the program features mentioned above, TRUSTe’s new mobile application certification for privacy involves a thorough review of each mobile application or mobile website to ensure adherence to privacy standards, as well as looks at regulations, best practices and emerging standards. TRUSTe added privacy requirements specific to mobile, which have been reviewed by both the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and addressed special mobile features that create new privacy implications – such as location-based technologies and mobile analytics. The enhanced program allows businesses to guarantee the same privacy standards to consumers for new mobile usages – leading to more conversions on that platform.
“Familiar online platforms – advertising, gaming, social networks and ecommerce – are migrating en masse to the mobile platform,” said Ian Glazer, Privacy and Security Research Director at Gartner, Inc. “The businesses that succeed will need to overcome the perception that mobile devices are less private or secure and give consumers the confidence to share their personal information on mobile websites or applications.”
Mobile Market Explosion Fueling Need for Increased Privacy Guarantees
According to Gartner, worldwide mobile application stores’ download revenue will grow to $29.5 billion by the end of 2013. Fueling the growth are emerging mobile applications for bargain shopping, mobile ticketing, online banking and sales of tangible goods.
Yet despite the momentum, consumers are still hesitant to use their mobile devices for m-commerce due to a lack of confidence. According to a survey of more than four thousand mobile device users conducted by KPMG, more than 87 percent have concerns about both privacy and security. Online marketers promoting new behavioral advertising and location-based services (such as GPS) that substantially increase data collection possibilities, also add to these privacy concerns.
"As the world's second largest mobile application store with over 1 billion downloads, we believe our developers will be able to leverage TRUSTe's privacy seal to maximize installs – especially for applications where location-based services are central," said Patrick Mork, CMO of GetJar. “Consumer recognition and trust of the TRUSTe brand is clearly well-established in the Internet space. We believe this brand recognition can provide a valuable point of difference for developers in mobile by communicating to consumers that the content they wish to download is safe and adheres to established privacy guidelines. Establishing this level of trust for consumers on the mobile platform is important to help advance the growth of the mobile industry as a whole."
TRUSTe’s TRUSTed Mobile Apps program – supporting all platforms including Apple, Blackberry, Android, Palm, Symbian and Windows Mobile – is designed to meet the burgeoning privacy concerns of consumers in the mobile platform market through TRUSTe’s extensive knowledge and proven experience in the trust services market.
Businesses Choose TRUSTe to Engender Trust Among Their Mobile Customers
Leading Internet companies are already turning to TRUSTe to help them build trust in the mobile market. Apartments.com, a national online rentals resource, is a TRUSTed Mobile Apps beta user. In addition to simplifying the apartment search process by providing renters with millions of apartment options from around the country, users can check the availability of an apartment and contact the leasing office directly from an Apartments.com listing – all which require personal and private data from the user. “Renters want easy access to apartment listings on the go,” said Chris Brown, Vice President of Product Management at Apartments.com. “We have experienced record growth within our mobile sector. Compared to the first half of 2009, visits to Apartments.com via mobile devices increased 117 percent in 2010, and the number of consumers accessing apartment community information through text messages has increased by 250 percent. Given this demand for a portable apartment shopping experience, we want to reassure our mobile visitors that their personal information will remain secure by prominently showcasing the mobile-optimized TRUSTe seal on our site.”
GoDaddy.com, the world’s largest Web hosting provider and top domain name registrar on the Internet, believes building online trust with its customers is a strategic advantage. "As the mobile application space grows at a VERY rapid speed, GoDaddy.com is working to expand our leadership role," said Kimberly Cilke, GoDaddy.com Assistant General Counsel. "Having a TRUSTe privacy seal on our application, signaling our commitment to user-privacy, is a clear competitive differentiator and a benefit for our customers.” TigerText, recent MOBI Award winner of the Best Mobile Application for Social Media, is an up-and-comer on the mobile application scene that holds privacy in the highest regard. “TigerText is a mobile communications platform built on the principles that our users’ data is private,” said Jeffrey Evans, CEO of TigerText. “We’re proud to display the TRUSTe seal on our site and on our mobile applications and feel confident that it will help us stay true to those principles.”
As a MobileBeat startup competition finalist, Thumbspeak is well-poised to be the world’s leading mobile opinion network, which requires a keen focus on the growing issue of privacy. "Building trust with new mobile users is critical," said Dean Wiltse, Founder and CEO of Thumbspeak. "TRUSTe's leadership, experience and reputation in the traditional online privacy space gave us confidence in their ability to help us grow our business on the mobile platform through trust."
Jean Tripier, CEO at WorldMate, another TRUSTe early adopter whose Trip Catch travel application allows users to manage their itinerary, search for flights and receive automated flight status updates from their Blackberry devices, said: “We take privacy seriously. When using our travel application, customers frequently provide private and personal data that they may not want others to have access to – such as flight, destination and hotel information. Having the trustmark of the industry’s eminent Internet privacy leader immediately visible assures our customers that we are taking the utmost care to protect their privacy when using our application.”
Other early adopters not previously mentioned include Callvine, Lookout and Whereoscope.
For more information about TRUSTe’s privacy certification program for mobile, as well as to access valuable resource material, please go to www.truste.com/mobile.
TRUSTe is the leading global privacy management solutions provider and offers a broad suite of solutions that enable multinational companies to safely and efficiently handle the customer data powering their online businesses - including advertising, cloud services, mobile applications, and websites. Over 5,000 web properties from top companies like Apple, Disney, eBay, Forbes, HP, and Microsoft rely on TRUSTe to ensure compliance with evolving and complex international privacy requirements. TRUSTe's mission, based on a "Truth in Privacy" framework, is built on a solid foundation of transparency, choice and accountability regarding the collection and use of personal information. TRUSTe's privacy seal is recognized and trusted by millions of consumers worldwide as a sign of responsible privacy practices. For additional information on TRUSTe and its offerings, please visit http://www.truste.com.