• 01/07/2013
    10:33 AM
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Gigya Certification Aims To Allay Social Login Fears

SocialPrivacy Certification holds organizations accountable for data, privacy protection.
Facebook's 2012 Highs And Lows
Facebook's 2012 Highs And Lows
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Social business infrastructure provider Gigya's new SocialPrivacy Certification program is designed to provide peace of mind to users of social login services by holding organizations displaying the certificate accountable for doing -- and not doing -- specific things.

Social login services, including Gigya's own Social Login, enable users to register for sites and services using a preferred social network account, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or Twitter. But while such services make authentication relatively quick and easy, not all users are comfortable using them.

Gigya conducted a survey of 2,600 people and found that 53% have logged in to a website or mobile application using social login. It was the 47% who had not that Gigya wanted to reach, according to company CEO Patrick Salyer.

[ What do you expect to see in social business this year? Read 5 Social Business Predictions For 2013. ]

Survey respondents who had used social login services cited username/password fatigue, streamlined registration and social syndication as the three top benefits. Survey respondents who had not used social login services cited data transfer, social posting concerns and uncertainly of data usage as the top three factors for skipping a social login option when signing in to a website or mobile application. Respondents were concerned that if they used social login services, businesses would then sell their social data, their social network contacts would be spammed or businesses would post to their social networks without permission.

"They were concerned in terms of what is happening when they log in socially," Salyer told The BrainYard. "There was concern that their social login data would be sold or that they or their friends would be spammed."

To help allay those fears, Gigya formed a privacy advisory board and began working with the Future of Privacy Forum, ConnectSafely and Stanford University. "We thought there was an opportunity to form a certification program where an online business would guarantee consumers that social login data would be handled in very specific ways," said Salyer.

To become certified and to maintain the Gigya certification, organizations must adhere to four key principles:

1. They will not sell social data.

2. They will not post to social feeds without explicit permissions.

3. They will not engage in social data-based email marketing campaigns without user permissions.

4. They will not send private messages to users' friends without permission.

A privacy team put together by Gigya performs an audit on organizations seeking to become certified and will conduct ongoing audits to ensure that companies are abiding by the certification's standards. Organizations that check out and that pay about $1,500 per month can display the Gigya SocialPrivacy Certification seal. Participating organizations include Martha Stewart Omnimedia and Lush Cosmetics. Salyer said companies that display the seal have seen a significant increase in social login.

He added that most companies seeking the SocialPrivacy Certification seal already meet the program's requirements, but the certification provides users with a better understanding of what participating organizations will and won't do with their social data.

"The vast majority of these requirements are things that businesses have already been doing, but they're making a public commitment," said Salyer. "We consider this a virtual handshake. It's a win for businesses and a win for users."

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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re: Gigya Certification Aims To Allay Social Login Fears

The price tag for this certification puts smaller business that like to use social plugins at a disadvantage. If Gigya is really concerned about privacy, they should make this affordable for smaller businesses.

re: Gigya Certification Aims To Allay Social Login Fears

Thanks for your comment. You make a great point. And are smaller companies perceived by consumers as less likely to have the kinds of resources required to ensure privacy? If that perception is there, are smaller companies more in need of the kind of certification Gigya is offering and less able to afford it?

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard

re: Gigya Certification Aims To Allay Social Login Fears

I don't think consumers really care whether a business can afford a security certification or not, they just want privacy and if they cannot get it they won't shop at a site that does not make them feel safe! This kind of security feature must be provided in a tiered fashion, with less features for small business and more for bigger businesses who can afford it, as long as everyone can get to display that certificate on their website.

re: Gigya Certification Aims To Allay Social Login Fears

Sherry I wish what you say were generally true however from what I see most users don't have a clue whether they are safe at a site or not.