Internet infrastructure company VeriSign redesigned its VeriSign Trust Mark seal.
The Macromedia Flash animation replaces the two-dimensional GIF image the company has long used to identify its customers' websites, and will allow VeriSign to pull its seal off websites with expired or invalid digital certificates.
In the past, the company had to work with customers to get the VeriSign seal removed, even after their certificate expired.
Before issuing a digital certificate or allowing companies to display the seal, VeriSign verifies that the business is legitimate, that the employee requesting the certificate is acting on behalf of the company and that the business owns or operates the domain for which the certificate is issued.
Clicking on the VeriSign Trust Mark seal opens a web browser window displaying the company's information, as well as a validity period for the certificate being used to encrypt communications from users' computers to the company's website.
The new VeriSign seal will also improve the quality of information displayed when users click on it, providing a direct link to data in VeriSign's servers and providing certificate holder information in real time.
The seal will add weight to small online businesses that do not have a strong brand identity on the internet, advertising to online shoppers that the site uses digital authentication for its online communications.
For customers who do not allow Flash plug-ins on their websites, VeriSign is offering a GIF version of the new seal which features the same animation as the Flash version, but does not require a Flash Web browser plug-in.
The seal is available at no extra cost to existing VeriSign Trust Mark programme members, but the company will not pressure existing companies to use the new seal.
However, new VeriSign Trust Mark customers will have to use the new seal, which will, eventually, replace the older version.
VeriSign has more than 375,000 digital certificates installed on web servers worldwide. The company's online payments business processes around 30% of all e-commerce transactions in North America.
Paul Roberts writes for IDG News Service