Inside Business: Building trust in the internet
Sunday 07 March 1999
On the internet, they say, a small start-up can compete far more effectively with a well-known giant than it can in conventional conditions. After all, just look at how Amazon.com has taken on the established book trade.
But one of the key hurdles is concern about security. Consumers are worried that because they have often never physically met the people with whom they are expected to do business they have difficulty in assessing their bona fides. Equally, those operating websites are concerned that their trademarks and other intellectual property are vulnerable to abuse.
However, two events of the past week could go some way to allying such fears. First, the accountancy profession has developed a seal of approval.
The WebTrust service was developed in the US and Canada and has just been licensed for use here.
Chris Howard, who is overseeing it in England, sees the project, one of several being planned in the electronic commerce arena, as a natural extension of the profession's provision of what are now called "assurance services".
The seal is paid for by the website operators and a check to ensure that it meets certain standards - in terms of such areas as freedom from viruses, protection of confidential information and money-back guarantees where the customer is not satisfied - is carried out a regular intervals. Other sites are also checked to ensure that they are not carrying unauthorised seals.
Trademarks like the seal of approval are the concern of IP Warehouse. IP Warehouse is a Florida-based business set up by two lawyers, who had previously been computer engineers, with the intention of helping lawyers carry out research over the internet. Describing their operation as an "information brokerage", Frank Cona and Michael Palage quickly saw a need to help clients protect what were often substantial intellectual property assets on the net.
Key to this service is a software technology the business has developed under the name IP DragNet. This allows for a comprehensive search of the internet for infringements of IP rights.
Already in operation in the US, the package is being made available to UK clients - chiefly law firms and the legal departments of large companies - now as a result of the acquisition of IP Warehouse by Compulink Information eXchange (CIX), which claims to be the UK's longest-established online service provider.
Graham Davies, CIX's sales and marketing director, said that the deal announced last week formed a crucial part of the company's strategy. With preservation of intangible assets set to be a key issue of the digital business age, he believed IP Warehouse was providing a valuable service.
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned
Peaches Geldof: Her final day – and her fatal decision
Chief Ebola doctor in Sierra Leone has contracted the deadly disease himself
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israel may have committed war crimes, says UN human rights chief
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
iJobs Money & Business
£20,000 - £22,000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Property Management Grou...
£400 - £420 per day: Orgtel: IT Transition Manager - Banking - Scotland - £400...
£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Test Lead, London, Banking, Financial Reporting, ...
£375 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...