OpenSRS: Reseller Friendly since 1999
 

Posts in: Reseller Resources

.NET, Powered by Verisign

net_logoThe world of domains names is about to get really complicated and messy, but in the midst of the change one domain stands ready and willing to help your customer’s get global credibility. As one of the first web domains, .NET is instantly recognizable domain around the globe.

Powered by Verisign, .NET has grown to over 15 million. Its a great alternative to .COM as there are no specific legal or geographic qualification to get a .NET domain name registered. So now is a great time to remind your customers of the value and strength of .NET as a preferred choice.

Download the New Assets
To support your efforts, Verisign has developed new brand assets to help get the word out and establish .NET as the preferred alternative domain extension. Head over to our Marketing Resources page to download the latest logos, banner ads, and videos you can start using right away on your site and marketing materials.

Earn $100 Account Credit
We’ve also set up an extra incentive you can take advantage of today. Download the new .NET assets and incorporate them in your site; then via this form show us a screenshot and we’ll deposit $50 into your OpenSRS account. Go the next step of writing and distributing a pro-.NET asset, such as a blog post or an email to your customers/prospects, and show us what you did for another $50 credit. That is an easy $100 for each and every reseller to take advantage of today.

WHMCS Plugins Now out of Beta

OpenSRS is excited to announce the release of six plugins for WHMCS that will allow our resellers to easily sell our products & services and integrate directly with our platform. All of these plugins are available today at no cost and are 100% open source. We hope you’ll start using them and provide feedback so we can continue to improve them.

For a list of all features and to download our plugins, visit http://opensrs.com/site/integration/tools/whmcs

OpenSRS Domains Pro

  • Works alongside other registrar modules
  • Adds .PW to the list of ccTLDs
  • Supports WHMCS Domain Sync
  • Register/Renew/Transfer new domains
  • Enable or disable WHOIS privacy functionality
  • Remove WHOIS privacy service from registrar and billing area
  • Automatic invoice generation for clients who enable whois privacy support is now available via the client area
  • Adds support and fixes the phone # formatting issue that affected WHMCS’ OpenSRS module

OpenSRS SSL

  • You can now manage existing certificates within WHMCS
  • Register/Renew/Terminate for all supported certificates (Comodo, Symantec, GeoTrust, Trustwave, Thawte)
  • Auto configuration via client side interface
  • This module will NOT support SAN/UC certs

TRUSTe

  • Create TRUSTe orders manually and via auto provisioning
  • Terminate TRUSTe orders
  • Auto renew of order upon payment
  • Manage and complete TRUSTe signup process

GeoTrust Anti-Malware Scan

  • Create GeoTrust Anti-Malware Scan orders manually and via auto provisioning
  • Terminate GeoTrust Anti-Malware Scan orders
  • Auto renew of order upon payment
  • Manage and on demand scan of GeoTrust Anti-Malware

SiteLock

  • Support for existing SiteLock accounts
  • Create SiteLock orders manually and via auto provisioning
  • Terminate SiteLock orders
  • Auto renew of order upon payment
  • Upgrade/Downgrade capabilities

GoMobi

  • Support for existing GoMobi purchases
  • Create GoMobi orders manually and via auto provisioning
  • Terminate GoMobi orders
  • Auto renew each month upon payment otherwise product is suspended
  • Suspend and un-suspend service

New OpenSRS Status Site Launches on July 2

We are planning to cutover to the newly updated OpenSRS Status website on Tuesday, July 2. It will be at the same URL as the current site – http://opensrsstatus.com.

The new site looks and works better (especially on mobile devices), providing more descriptive updates. You can read about all the improvements and changes in this post.

As promised, for those that use the RSS feeds, here’s a list of the new feeds that you may wish to follow (note that these will be 404 Not Found until the new site launches on Tuesday):

Services RSS feeds:

Control Panels and APIs RSS feeds:

gTLDs and Specialty ccTLDs Registries RSS feeds:

ccTLDs RSS feeds:

Realtime updates will continue to be posted to Twitter. Follow @OpenSRSStatus.

We’ve been running the site internally to work out any kinks or bugs. As a result, there are status updates in the system going back to about the beginning of March, 2013.

We don’t anticipate running into any issues with the new site, but we’ll be looking at how it works in the first few months to ensure that we’re fulfilling the mandate of providing clear, concise and timely updates to you with the new site.

A New OpenSRS Status Site is Coming Soon

Within the next month or two we’ll be re-launching OpenSRS Status with a new look, and a bit of a different way of doing things.

Since we launched the site in 2008, our aim with OpenSRS Status has been to provide a one-stop site offering real-time information about the status of the various systems and services that our resellers rely on. Having a real-time status site wasn’t common back in 2008 and the transparency around our services was (and continues to be) something that sets us apart from our competitors and other Internet service providers.

The new OpenSRS Status site will be found at the same address as the current site – http://opensrsstatus.com. OpenSRS Status will continue to be completely off-network so it stays online even if catastrophe strikes our network infrastructure.

What’s New

Responsive designOnce the new site launches (planned for early July), you’ll notice a cleaner look-and-feel, along with improvements to how incidents are displayed. Here’s some of the new features:

  • A new, simplified dashboard – only open or recently resolved incidents are shown, along with any maintenance that is currently underway. You’ll be able to tell at a glance whether everything is working well, or whether there’s something happening that you need to know about. Incidents will stay up on the homepage for three days after the incident is resolved and will be archived (but still viewable) after that for reference.
  • More descriptive post titles – we’ve done away with the ‘online’, ‘degraded’ and ‘offline’ post titles. Instead, you’ll see that an incident is either ‘open’ or ‘resolved’ and post titles will provide specific information about what the impact is. For example, instead of “Email Cluster A is Degraded”, it will be “Intermittent issues with logging in for some users on Email Cluster A”. Better information, at a glance.
  • A single page and URL per incident – any updates on an incident will show up on the same page as the original incident post. You can check on the status of any open or resolved incident (including viewing any time-stamped updates) at one permanent URL. This makes it easier for you to track an incident from start to finish.
  • Better/simpler categorization of TLDs services – with hundreds of TLDs and more on the way, we’re categorizing them – gTLDs in one group, and ccTLDs grouped geographically by continent, instead of breaking each TLD out separately.

New OpenSRS Status site

Less Noise

We also took a look at some of the things we’ve done with OpenSRS Status since 2008 with an eye towards simplifying things to remove some of the noise.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to stop posting real-time registry maintenance notices. We’ll continue to provide advance notice of any planned registry maintenance in the Help & Support Portal and you’ll note that we’ve added a Google Calendar version complete with the ability to subscribe via .ics starting today. Note: we’re waiting on a settings change to take effect to make that calendar fully public.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of these maintenance windows are transparent to resellers and users thanks to OpenSRS’ queuing mechanisms that queue orders when registries are offline or in maintenance and process them once the systems reconnect.

Also note that we’ll continue to provide real-time notifications for maintenance that impacts our own systems and for maintenance planned by our Trust Service partners and goMobi that sometimes do have an impact during the maintenance period.

Changes to Notification Options

Back when we launched the first OpenSRS Status site in 2008, posting updates to Twitter was an experimental feature. Twitter itself was pretty new, but even back then we suspected that a lot of resellers would want to get status information that way. Today well over 500 followers are getting real-time updates via Twitter and the use of Twitter for this type of application is common. With the new site, @OpenSRSStatus on Twitter becomes the preferred notification method.

Once the new site launches, email subscriptions for OpenSRS Status will no longer be provided. We know some resellers view email as the preferred method of receiving notifications but the current system used to subscribe and send emails isn’t up to the task anymore. In fact, as we’ve added new services and TLDs over the last couple of years, there hasn’t been a way to subscribe to or send out email notifications.

We looked at building out a new system or working with a third-party solution to handle subscriptions and sending of email notifications. In the end, no suitable option was found and we couldn’t make a case for allocating the resources to build and maintain what is a fairly complex system that not many resellers were making use of.

We’ll continue to provide full RSS feeds (both a master feed of all services, and individual feeds for service categories).

Other Notification Options

For those resellers who want email notifications, we suggest either setting up an RSS-to-email script on your own infrastructure, or you can use a service like IFTTT.com or Zapier.com which can take an RSS feed and parse it into an email that can be sent to the address of your choice. IFTTT.com can take any RSS feed and do a myriad of different things with it – send an SMS or an email, or even call you on the phone.

You might also consider using Twitter’s built-in SMS or push notifications as a solution to provide real-time updates.

Launching in July

We’re planning to cut over to the new status site in early July. We’ll let you know the exact date a week or two in advance and we’ll provide a list of the RSS feeds prior to the cutover so you can pre-configure any RSS feed readers or scripts prior to the re-launch.

Email notifications for status events will continue to work until the cutover to the new site, at which point they will no longer be sent.

In advance of the cutover to the new site, starting June 1, 2013, we’ll no longer provide real-time notifications for registry maintenance via the current site. You can view all upcoming registry maintenance windows at the Help & Support Portal including the new calendar view and .ICS subscription option. We post them as soon as we get notice from our registry and other service partners.

Help & Support Portal Updates

With the new OpenSRS Help & Support Portal now fully up and running for a few months now, I thought it would be good to show you some of the places where we are sharing important information with you.

Announcements

  • Upcoming Maintenance: we’ll post things like registry maintenance announcements and planned OpenSRS maintenance here. We’ll continue to provide realtime updates via OpenSRS Status.
  • Release Notes and Change Logs: Starting on February 28, 2013, we’ll be posting a changelog for OpenSRS Services. This posting will detail the changes made to OpenSRS services, the API and Control Panels in the last month. Going forward, this log will be posted on the last Thursday of the month. You’ll also find release notes for things like goMobi, SiteLock and other services that are provided by third-party vendors when available.
  • Service Bulletins: In the event of unplanned outages or other disruptions of service, we endeavour to provide a summary of the reasons behind the disruption and what we are doing to prevent a reoccurrence. You’ll find those bulletins within a day or two of the conclusion of the outage or interruption. We do our best to be as open and transparent about any issues as possible and we invite your comments if you have any.

Services Knowledge Base

OpenSRS Help & SupportThose visiting the portal on a regular basis will note that we’ve been steadily adding articles to the Services Knowledge Base. It is our intention to continue to add content here to help answer some of the questions that you might have without requiring you to open a ticket.

The search function in the new portal is pretty effective and if you create tickets directly in the portal, you’ll be given suggestions for articles that may hold the answer to your question.

Over the last couple of months we’ve created dozens and dozens of new articles in the various categories. You’ll also note that we’ve moved content related to specific policies and documentation for certain ccTLDs to the Services Knowledge Base in the Domains category.

Community Forums

Last but not least, we’re seeing increased activity in our Community Forums since moving from the old forum software into the new, unified portal. Feel free to drop in and ask any questions that you might have there. Unlike our previous forums which were primarily user-to-user, our support staff are monitoring things fairly closely and are happy to step in and answer your questions there.

Beware of DNS services “invoices”

A company by the name of DNS Services Corporation is apparently sending out letters to domain registrants that look very much like an invoice for DNS services. They are likely scraping public WHOIS records to get the names and addresses of registrants to do this.

Like the Domain Registry of America (DROA) and Domain Registry of Canada (DROC), DNS Services seems to think it’s perfectly reasonable and ethical to get their customers through these types of practices.

A scan of the letter that they send out is shown below (click it to see a hi-res version). We’ve taken out any personal info, but you can see it has been made to look very much like an invoice, and the text indicating it isn’t an invoice is very easy to miss.

dns-services-letterThere are two great ways to protect your customers from getting letters like these.

  1. Use Contact Privacy. We provide it for free on all domain registrations (where the registry allows it). With Contact Privacy info shown in the public WHOIS, we’ll end up getting these letters instead of your customers. We already get a ton of them from the Domain Registry of Canada which we properly dispose of for recycling.
  2. Educate your customers. Let them know about these types of practices and explain that they should simply discard the letters, or get in touch with you if they have any doubts about any payments or invoices they receive. Your customers will very much appreciate this help – it’s a great part of the service you provide to them.

If you or your customers run into any other examples of these types of practices, feel free to send them our way through the Community Forums at our Help & Support portal, or email Reseller Support. We’ll let your fellow resellers know so we can reduce the effectiveness of these types of mailings and hopefully make the whole practice go away.

Thanks to very much to Nancy from Aardvark & Associates for bringing this to our attention and shame on DNS Services for using this tactic.

Embeddable Ting Savings Calculator

Here is an easier way to tell your customers about Ting and demonstrate the savings they can receive. Use our embeddable savings calculator on your own site. We’ve taken out links back to Ting.com, so all you need to do is show a link/banner with your referral code to direct people to the Ting site.

Here is the embed code:

<iframe src=”https://ting.com/fb/calculator_wl” width=”900″ height=”500″ frameborder=0></iframe>

If you don’t know what to do with that (or have any problems) and you would like to have a Ting savings calculator on your site, we are happy to help. Just comment here and we will have someone geeky get back to you.

And for larger customers, head over to the Ting marketing resources page and download our spreadsheet for calculating savings for clients with lots of devices. Its an effective way to show small businesses the ROI they can expect when they switch their company to Ting.

OpenSRS Help & Support

If you’ve opened a ticket with us in the past week or so, then you’ve probably already noticed something new. We recently transitioned to a new platform for OpenSRS Help and Support.

The cutover went quite smoothly. The new ticket system for Reseller Support offers some great new things for you – ticket history, the ability to view and update tickets via the web (and on mobile devices), and a clean new look and feel.

New Forums, Knowledge Bases and Announcements Sections

Along with the new ticketing system comes new Community Forums, Knowledge Bases and Announcements sections.

The new forums are integrated into the ticketing system now and we have the ability to promote forum posts into tickets when it makes sense. Our goal is to give you more support options – email, phone, public forums, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

You’ll also note a new “Feature Requests” forum. This one operates a bit differently and allows you to make a request for something you’d like to see from OpenSRS, and vote on requests that have been made. We don’t promise to add every new feature that’s requested, but we do pledge to consider each and every one thoughtfully. It’s visible only when you are logged in to the OpenSRS Help & Support site.

The Knowledge Bases (for services and integration) are a bit on the empty side right now, but we’ll be filling those up with articles and content over the next few weeks. Feel free to suggest articles to us. We expect this to become a significant resource for our Resellers and it’s something we’ve wanted to provide for a long time.

We’ve created an Announcements section as well. That will be home to things like Incident Reports, service release notes, Maintenance notifications, support updates (like holiday hours) and any other bits of info we need to pass along to you. Some of these areas are only visible to logged in users.

A couple of notes

  • You’ll have to create a new login for OpenSRS Help & Support. We’re working on integrating your Reseller account login with this support site, but until we have support on the OpenSRS side for multiple logins for a single Reseller account (coming soon!), we’re going to keep things separate.
  • Those of you who already had forum accounts, sorry…you’ll need to create a new account (which will also function as your Reseller Support account). We’ve shut off posting on the old forums, but we’ll leave that content up in a “read-only” state for now in case you want to reference anything.

Take a look!

We invite you to head over and create an account today. Please feel free to provide any feedback in the General forum – we’re committed to making this a great resource site for you. Let us know what works and what doesn’t and provide us with suggestions on Knowledge Base articles and other ways we can provide better support.

Take your business global because that is where the market is going

Editor’s Note: This is the latest in a series of guest posts by Phil Shih, founder of Structure Research.

The hosting business has shown exemplary growth since its inception in the 90s. Surging Internet adoption and the larger shift to communicating, collaborating and conducting business online guaranteed that hosters would have plenty of addressable market. The shift to outsourcing infrastructure rather than housing it on-premise was another key driver.

The market is still healthy. There continue to be businesses that need an online presence and there are plenty of organizations that use hosting for email or document management or lease servers to run applications or archive files. But it is also fair to say that the low-hanging fruit is not as plentiful as it once was. Having a personal website is still something people want to use hosting for but there are other outlets now. Facebook is perhaps the best example of a plausible alternative to web hosting and there is no shortage of free hosting services that similarly attract customers previously targeted by hosters.

Maturation can mean shrinkage

The fact is that as an industry grows and matures competition tightens and the total addressable market tends to shrink. To frame the problem at its core: with less new Internet adopters and growing numbers of outsourced hosting users along with more alternatives there are less people and businesses for hosters to sell to.

There are plenty of ways for hosters to address this dilemma. They can move up-market into other infrastructure services or add value around the domain name, hosting and email “triple play”. But it is imperative that hosters start looking at easy ways to expand their total addressable market and the most logical thing is to start moving into emerging markets. In places like Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, China, Indonesia and Russia – to name a few – the Internet is just starting to take off and there is a huge untapped market of users that is moving online. They represent prime candidates for business-class domain names, hosting and email.

Check the facts

Consider some of the numbers. In VeriSign’s last domain industry brief, Brazil and China were among the three fastest-growing ccTLDs on a q/q basis. In that same period total ccTLD registrations were up 5.4% q/q. Takeaway? There is clearly new and accelerating Internet adoption coming from all corners of the world and many of them can be found in emerging markets.

Contrary to common perception moving into new markets is also not hard to do. It certainly is not as hard as it was even five years ago. Country-code top-level domains are readily available on a wholesale basis and setting up a small hosting operation is as easy as leasing a few servers or taking down a small colocation suite. Automation, remote management and software portability make location a relatively minor issue. The main challenge for the hoster will be to hire some local language support staff, which is plentiful and easy to find in emerging markets at an affordable cost.

Still a healthy sector

It is worth reiterating: the hosting sector is healthy and continues to grow even in the most mature markets. While things are getting tougher there is still plenty of runway and upside. The tailwinds behind the sector are favourable. But as the market continues to mature hosters would be wise to start looking for opportunities that offset the structural challenges that will have an increasing impact over time. Hedging your bets and expanding addressable market is the path to long-term success. Take advantage of the fact the Internet is borderless and take your hosting business global.

October means savings on .CA and .ORG domains

Can you believe that October is here already? Summer in Canada, home to OpenSRS HQ, is pretty much over and thoughts have turned to getting ready for another winter.

But on the bright side, the change of season also means a pair of new domain promotions to tell you about.

  • First up is a great promotion on .CA domains. We’re slashing the cost for .CA registrations to just $10 throughout the month of October (compared to the usual cost of $14). And, as a special bonus for our Canadian resellers, we’ll knock another $1.50 off if you are based in Canada.
  • Also on sale starting October 1 are .ORG domains. We’re taking $2.00 off the registry cost on new .ORG registrations through to the end of the year.

You can read more about the terms of both promotions on our promotions signup page. Like most OpenSRS pricing offers, you’ll need to sign up to take advantage of the savings and we’ll pay out in the form of a rebate into your reseller account in the month following.

Rethinking SSL Marketing

I’ve talked in the past about starting the sales process for SSL certificates “upstream” – that is, offering the appropriate certificate to your customer after assessing their needs, rather than immediately going to a lower cost domain validated certificate.

You can have a look at that post if you missed it, but the basic premise is that domain validated certificates are great for individuals, while organization and extended validation certificates should be the default certificate that you sell to your business customers.

SSL marketing – some new ideas

Expanding on that a bit, I want to get into how SSL is marketed these days and hopefully give you some ideas that you can use to stand out from the crowd and do things a little differently.

Those who sell SSL generally know the difference between a domain-validated certificate and an organization or extended validated certificate. But do your customers who are buying SSL know the difference, and more importantly, do they really need to know?

I’ve looked at a ton of sites selling SSL lately and I noticed that the vast majority of these companies sell SSL certificates using buzzwords, comparison charts and acronyms. It’s OV vs. DV and EV, UCC/SAN, multi-domain this and dynamic vs. static seal that.

Spec sheets are great for people who understand specs, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t have one on your site – some customers will be looking for that information and it’s good to have it. Apple keeps things simple when it comes to buying a MacBook Pro, but if you want to know which processor and how much L3 cache there is, the info is just a click away.

But the average certificate buyer will end up skimming over all this info they don’t understand and hitting on the one thing they do understand: the price. But without that understanding of what makes the products different, they won’t know why a TrueBusiness ID certificate is more expensive than a QuickSSL.

Educate or simplify

You have a couple of options to counter this: spend time educating customers on the differences (SSL 101), or take the confusion out of your marketing.

In my travels around the web, I also found a couple of examples of companies taking a bit of a different approach to selling SSL:

You’ll note some similarities – gone are most of the buzzwords and acronyms. Instead both examples provide easy-to-understand guidance. Are you a small business? Then the Premium or Business plan is for you.

Most buyers will understand Standard vs. Pro vs. Business SSL and self-select the right certificate for their needs. But if they don’t, one provider offers a nice interactive simulator that asks a few questions and tells the user what they should buy (in some cases, it’s the inexpensive Standard cert that is suggested – the goal, remember, is to sell the appropriate certificate for their needs).

Selling the right SSL certificate to the customer is job one

Take a look at your own marketing for SSL and see if you can do things a little differently. Maybe the goal is to move your small business customers to an organization-validated certificate from a domain-validated product (and push up your margins a bit in the process). A little effort around education and simplification of your marketing might be all you need to do to accomplish that.

Ensuring that your customer gets the appropriate SSL certificate for their needs should be priority one.

Talking About Ting

In our recent webinar about selling Ting, ultramarathoner James Koole suggested that you should “host more of the conversation on your side than ours.” I want to share a piece of data to support that point, elaborate on it a bit and see if I can offer you some help.

First the data. Looking at the traffic coming through our reseller landing pages on Ting, we see that 9% of the traffic has produced 80% of the accounts. Said differently, we are seeing a bunch of resellers who drive, for example, 200 visits with no conversions and a bunch of resellers who drive, for example, 4 visits with 3 conversions. The 200 visitors are probably coming through some sort of logo or link dropped on a homepage. The 4 visitors obviously knew quite a lot about Ting before they ever got there.

Your customers will likely not yet know anything about Ting. We do the best we can on our site to establish credibility and address potential concerns. But, in the end, we are still strangers. The best thing we have going for us is your endorsement.

Think about your own buying decisions. Familiarity and trust is everything. A blog post from you explaining the Ting plans will inevitably be so much more powerful than our own Ting plans page. Sharing how much you have saved a month with Ting will be so much more relevant than dozens of our own testimonials (from yet more strangers). Offering to walk your customers through the savings calculator to see if they will save money themselves will be absolutely invaluable.

The days of slapping affiliate links on your site and hoping to see conversions are over. Your customers rightfully expect to know what Ting is all about and why you are recommending it before they even visit our site. And they will not convert to any of our satisfaction if they don’t get that from you.

I don’t have more advice to offer on selling Ting in your own words. Be helpful. Be honest. I do, however, have one more thought on hosting more of the conversation on your side than ours.

We recently put the Ting savings calculator on our Ting Facebook page. Then, we took it a step further and put it on our separate Hover Facebook page. This work pretty much paves the way for you to embed this calculator on your site, Facebook page or anywhere else you want. Again, it might not seem profoundly different than sending your customers to our site. But I believe having this tool on your side, surrounded by your thoughts and suggestions, will drive more interaction and have far greater impact. It also does even more to reinforce your role as a trusted provider and expert.

You can add the savings calculator to your Facebook page easily. You’ll find more info and the link here.

If you want to add it to your site, there’s just a bit of work that needs to be done. We are happy to help. Just send an email to our own doctor of Ting reseller love, Mark Klein, at mark@ting.com.

Meanwhile, please join us in the Ting discussion forum to offer any questions, thoughts or concerns about how we can help you succeed.

Why Business Customers Should Use Organization Validated SSL Certificates

Of the three types of SSL certificate validation, which one do you understand the least? I’m willing to bet its organization validation (OV).

For the uninitiated, there are different validation methods for different types of SSL certificates. In simple terms:

  • Domain Validated (DV): This is the least rigorous validation method. The Certificate Authority (CA) checks to see that the applicant’s name and contact information matches what is stored in the WHOIS database for the domain name associated with the SSL Certificate.
  • Organization Validated (OV): In the case of an OV certificate, the CA performs a much more substantial validation process. This includes checking the applicant’s business credentials (through databases including the Articles of Incorporation) and even making sure that the company’s physical address matches the application.
  • Extended Validation (EV): This is the highest level of validation and can take as long as a few days to complete. The validation process includes checks of physical location, phone calls to ensure the applicant is authorized to order the certificate on behalf of the company or business represented, and more.

Offer at least an OV cert for your business customers

For individuals, a DV certificate is the most affordable and logical choice to provide simple encryption for things like logins.

But for business, a domain validated certificate simply isn’t the appropriate choice. If you have small- and mid-sized business customers, at the bare minimum, they should be using an organization validated certificate to ensure that visitors to their website see that additional information about the organization in the certificate.

A good rule of thumb is this: if the certificate is issued to a company, then it should be one that requires validation of that company – either OV or EV. And anytime there are transactions occurring on a website, an OV or EV certificate should be used to instill confidence in the customer that their data is safe and that they are dealing with who they think they are.

Secrets to Successful SSL Selling

“Assess and suggest”. That’s the best approach to offering SSL certificates to your customers because it ensures that you start with an understanding of the customer’s need, and end with selling the correct SSL certificate for their application.

Providing that bit of education and assistance – helping the customer to understand the various product differences and features – will go a long way in ensuring the customer ends up with the right solution.

Often times customers start the down the purchase path by looking at price first, and then features. Given that many of your potential customers don’t really know much about SSL other than knowing that they need one, price is going to be the biggest factor in their choice. That may mean they spend less, but it also means they will likely end up with the wrong SSL certificate for them. Unless you help them make that choice.

Offering the right solution, not the cheapest solution

There is a tendency to assume that the customer will only consider the least expensive option. That’s not the case. It’s really up to you to make sure that you present the right product for the customer.

I’ve heard from resellers that they feel dirty suggesting higher priced certificates to their customers, and that all SSL products are the same. While it’s true that the encryption provided by a domain validated certificate is as secure as what an extended validation certificate provides, it’s also true that there is much more to SSL than just encryption. Learn more.

Would you put one of your mid-sized business customers on your cheapest shared hosting packages? Or would you suggest the right solution for their needs even if that was a more expensive VPS or dedicated server package?

Selling a basic, domain validated certificate to a mid-sized business that transacts online through their site is doing them a disservice. That business could reap real benefits from using a Symantec Secure Site Pro, which includes the well-recognized Norton Secured Seal that is proven to reduce abandonment and lift consumer confidence.

The customer may not know this, but you should. They come to you for advice on what is best for them. Educate yourself, understand the products, and then assess and suggest the right solution to your customers.

Assess and Suggest

Here are some tips for how to help your customers get the right SSL certificate. The net result will be an increase in unit sales (because customers will feel confident in dealing with you), more sales in the higher margin products (because customers want to buy the right product for their application) and happier customers (because customers will feel informed and empowered).

Assess: understand the customer’s need.
Are they a small business? Do they use their site for transactions? Would they benefit from the Norton Secured Seal? Is the site public facing?

At this stage you are looking to develop an understanding of where the customer fits on the SSL product map. Remember that inexpensive domain validated certificates have a place in personal sites and internets, but also remember that small- and mid-sized business really should be using an organization or extended validated certificate.

Suggest: offer the right SSL certificate for their needs.
Your customers look to you for advice and expertise. Provide it to them and make sure you are offering the right solution for them.

If they are a small or mid-sized business, they should be using an organization validated certificate like a GeoTrust True BusinessID or a Symantec Secure Site Pro. If they have a shopping cart and do high volumes of transactions, then an extended validation certificate will help decrease cart abandonment and lift sales. Suggest a Symantec Secure Site Pro with EV and they can benefit from the Norton Secured Seal.

Help and Advice on Implementing New ccTLDs from OpenSRS

Last week we hosted a webinar for Resellers to get you up to speed on the expansion of our ccTLD lineup that we did in December.

Broadcasting live from the OpenSRS Webinar Broadcast Studios (aka Meeting Room 2)

If you missed the news about that launch, you can check out this post from Adam Eisner – we added dozens and dozens of new ccTLDs to the list of extensions you can sell through your OpenSRS reseller account.

Why ccTLDs? Which Ones Should I Offer? What are the Key Differences?

In the webinar, Adam talked about how we ended up adding all these new cTLDs, including some very open and transparent discussion about why we chose the ones we did.

He also provided some great advice on how you should approach bringing new ccTLDs to your customer base – that included thinking about your location, and the markets you serve.

Plus, he took a few minutes to fully explain some of the differences between these new ccTLDs and the rest of the TLDs we offer.

The webinar runs about 30 minutes with some questions and answers. As with all of our webinars, we recorded it (video and audio) so you can watch it when it’s convenient for you. You can access the recording here.

Another Great Webinar in February!

While we’re talking about webinars, we do have another one already lined up and on the schedule for the first week of February. We’re super excited to have Phil Shih from Structure Research in to provide a look at the hosting industry in 2012. This is exclusive to OpenSRS and promises to be an excellent session.

Find out more about that here, and of course, registration is free.

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