Trust Establisher is, from an end user perspetive, a trust seal similar to those provided by Verisign, TrustE, Better Business Bureau, HonestE and many others. Justin Mandel, the creator of Trust Establisher, is entering a marketplace that is already crowded and may have difficulty getting traction.

As with all trust seals, it is intended to supply an third-party endorsement for your site. However, this seal has benefits beyond those provided by most others. It provides additional social proof of the trustworthiness of the merchant, described below, and this proof can be continually updated as your client base grows.

Some people will be influenced by the visual presence of the seal itself on your site. Others may be jaded by the plethora of sites, particularly the large merchant sites, that have one or more of the available trust seals. To overcome the “seal blindness” of these people, Trust Establisher offers a second level of social proof: a map showing where your existing customers live.

It gathers this location information by connecting with your Paypal account and automatically pulling the sales data. Depending on how you process payments, you may find this helpful (if Paypal is your only payment procesor) or limiting (if you accept payment through AlertPay, Google Checkout or one of the other smaller processors.)

If you already have numerous buyers you would like to show on the map, the system allows you to import their location information taken from your Paypal or Clickbank history. Thereafter, it automatically updates the map based on new sales reported by Paypal.

You only place a small snippet of code on your site. Most of the work to provide this service is done by the Trust Establisher server. Your site’s data is stored in an account you create there. When someone clicks on your seal, you can have them taken to your site’s map (similar to what you see in Google maps) with pins indicating where your purchasers live. Of course, this is a two-edged sword. If you have only a few purchasers, this may discourage sales, not encourage them. So you may want to just show the seal itself, and not allow click-through until you get at least a few dozen buyers.

It’s clear that the infrastructure needed to deliver this Trust Establisher service to marketers is extensive; it’s not something you could practically do for yourself. Thus, it offers a valuable, cost-effective, tool for online merchants.

However, if your business doesn’t involve selling products or services from your site, it has less value. So if you sell affiliate products and collect commissions from other merchants, this won’t be of much value. IM NewsWatch, for example, wouldn’t get much value from it. Besides already being the most trusted name in IM News, we don’t currently sell products from our site.

The instructions for installing the code on your site and creating your account on the server are clear (and there is also a printable Quick Start Guide, which is of some additional help). Both text and video instructions are available for most aspects of the setup.

You are provided login credentials that take you to a well-organized dashboard where you can do your work. You can see a screen capture here: Trust Establisher Dashboard.

One thing missing in the navigation menu is a link to their support system. The only link to it I found was in the Quick Start Guide.

For HTML sites, the instructions a simple. WordPress users may be disconcerted since there aren’t instructions specific to their needs, and they are (properly) hesitant to muck around under its covers, rather than using its user interface, for fear of breaking something or having their changes removed by the next WP upgrade.

The support team intends to be responsive, but they warn that they are a small team, not available 24×7.

Trust Establisher is available in four versions, based on number of sites included and length of service: a one-site monthly subscription, a one-site lifetime subscription, a five-site annual subscription and a five-site lifetime subscription. An annual license for a single site would be a useful addition. It’s a curious omission.

All in all, the technology seems sound and can provide social proof that may help smaller merchants become trusted and accepted in the marketplace. It you would like to know more, you can see it here: Trust Establisher

IM NewsWatch Proving Ground

Note: This is intended to be a non-biased review. It is not an ad. For full disclosure, however, you should be aware that IM NewsWatch will receive a commission if you choose to invest in this product. Before you do, you should give your decision due diligence and independent judgment.

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