“Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty.”-Plato
Penny auction site BidPennyWatchAuctions.com is allegedly being dishonest in the way they are marketing to anyone who comes across their site.
In the past we’ve found a few other penny auction sites that were advertising falsely by using a trust signal or a seal that was prominently displayed on their site in an effort to look more transparent and trustworthy. In particular, past penny auctions have displayed VeriSign verified seals, SSL seals, TrustE seals, and even Better Business Bureau seals that were undeserved/phony.
Now, yet another penny auction site, BidPennyWatchAuctions.com, is doing the very same thing.
When I first came across their site their BBB Accredited logo stuck out to me, and I had to know. Is this penny auction really accredited by the Better Business Bureau?
In the terms & conditions of BidPennyWatchAuctions.com’s site they state that their business name is StCyrilLLC. So I went to the BBB and searched to see if this business was really accredited, it’s not.
See where the seals are? Right after they say “Bid Safely.” So, if this site was BBB Accredited and if they were verified by VeriSign would it be safe to bid? What happens if they aren’t?
A search of their site name revealed that this penny auction site is not accredited under their site name either. So if they are accredited, under what name are they accredited under?
And why when a user clicks on their logo we are not linked to their BBB profile? I actually e-mailed this penny auction site about 2 weeks ago to ask them about this and have yet to hear back from them.
What does BBB Accreditation mean?
“To be accredited by BBB a business or organization affirms that it meets and will abide by the following standards:
1. Build Trust
Establish and maintain a positive track record in the marketplace.
2. Advertise Honestly
Adhere to established standards of advertising and selling.
3. Tell the Truth
Honestly represent products and services, including clear and adequate disclosures of all material terms.
4. Be Transparent
Openly identify the nature, location, and ownership of the business, and clearly disclose all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customer’s decision to buy.
5. Honor Promises
Abide by all written agreements and verbal representations.
6. Be Responsive
Address marketplace disputes quickly, professionally, and in
7. Safeguard Privacy
Protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of customers regarding the use of their
8. Embody Integrity
Approach all business dealings, marketplace transactions and
commitments with integrity.”
So what if you don’t affirm any of those 8 principles for becoming a BBB Accredited site yet use the BBB seal?
Not only does BidPennyWatchAuctions.com display a fake BBB seal…
This penny auction site is also displaying fake VeriSign and fake SSL seals!
How can you tell? Well, type in https://bidpennywatchauctions.com and see if the site actually is encrypted, and nothing is displayed except an SSL connection error, because they are not SSL secured.
Here’s what Chrome tells us:
And finally, their VeriSign seal is not a VeriSign seal at all but an image. How to tell if a site is really VeriSign encrypted:
Click on the logo and if the logo links to a certificate by VeriSign then they are indeed verified. Is their seal clickable? Nope. What does the VeriSign seal signify? Trust.
According to a testimonial found on VeriSign’s website, a clean energy web site did A/B testing with their site, one instance had the VeriSign seal and the other did not. On the page with the seal they saw huge increase in conversions. Registrations had increased by 137%! Is it any wonder why these penny auctions are displaying fake trust seals? Do you trust them?
I noticed that BidPennyWatchAuctions also displays Twitter/Facebook social media icons that are not clickable. Were these seals apart of their theme? Are theme designers of penny auction scripts really doing this or is it the site?
Would you trust a site that is misrepresenting their own business, especially a site that takes money for chances to win something?
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Anthony February 16, 2012, 2:31 am
Well sadly it’s hard to get by on the web without using “trust signals” although I agree that a lot of foul play just ruins the picture for those people that work hard to get the right credentials as more and more people tend to look past different badges and seals, thinking that they are photos hoped or the organization is fictional.
Think penny auctions will ever have a reliable 3ed party association to mediate the operations?
I heard of the entertainment auctions association butt doesn’t seem like they are too active
And some time ago I stumbled upon pennyauctionassociation.org that just seems kind of shady…