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Does anybody know of a survey or study that compares site visitor attitudes/perceptions to security between an EV SSL cert and a security seal?

The EV SSL cert will show up green in the URL (like a bank) and the security seal is usually in the footer and says something like "secured by" or "hacker proof" or "website protection"

I'm looking for evidence that if you could only chose one, which would it be?

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I'm not aware of any surveys or studies per se, but you can gauge reaction on this site to trustmarks here: Are “trustmarks” such as McAfee Secure worth the cost?, and my answer here for Extended Validation Certificates: Is website security accreditation worth having? – dan Jun 28 '13 at 4:53
Do you mean an EV-certificate in place of a domain-validated certificate, or in place of no certificate at all? A security-seal without any SLL-certificate isn't worth anything. – martinstoeckli Jun 28 '13 at 6:51

Here is a recent article with information about both old and recent studies regarding user trust of seals, although I'm not sure that's quite what you're looking for.

However, as for choosing one or the other, you should definitely prioritize the SSL cert. Generally a seal simply indicates that a third-party company has scanned your website for any known security holes, but it does nothing to actually secure your website. An SSL cert actually encrypts the data the customer sends to you, and this actual encryption is much more important than any symbolic seal, regardless of the trust factor.

Furthermore, I'm not sure that most security seals will even allow you to pass a scan and display the seal if you don't have an SSL cert already. (Of course, if you're only talking about signaling, you can always just swipe a seal as an image, but that would be deceptive and possibly illegal depending on your jurisdiction.)

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+1 Good reference and answer (not sure about the last bit, but it does show how weak trustmarks really are) :-) – dan Jun 28 '13 at 20:12
@joshuahedlund Indeed, in case it wasn't clear, I am NOT recommending that, but it's good to know what is technically possible, especially as a customer. If a seal is legit, you should be able to click on it to confirm the domain from the seal's site. – joshuahedlund Jul 1 '13 at 14:19

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