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Are extended validation certs worth the extra money?

Michael Farnum posed the question on ComputerWorld: Are extended validation certs worth the extra money? Michael's friend asked him about the value of an extended validation certificate for his company's e-commerce site. His argument goes something like this:

  • To the customer, the only difference between a normal certificate and an EV certificate is seeing the green address bar.
  • Customers don't know (aren't trained) that the green address bar is better.
  • Extended validation certificates cost more than normal certificates.
  • So it is not worth it for a small business to buy an EV certificate.

Michael brings up some valid concerns such as how many people actually trust a green address bar more. Considering how few EV certificates have been issued and how many user's browsers don't even support EV certificates, this is an important point.

However, the largest issuer of EV certificates, VeriSign has reported that businesses are already benefiting from using EV certificates (see Will EV SSL Certificates Work?). VeriSign may have the most to gain from putting EV certificates on a pedestal but it is hard to deny that EV certificates give some benefit and that benefit will continue to increase as users become more aware. Michael admitted that he believes EV certificates can help some businesses but they are not for everyone.

For now, it may be wise for small businesses to wait for the increase in EV support and awareness but many could benefit from an EV certificate even now.

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Originally posted on Sun Aug 26, 2007
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