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Blog Post Jul 25, 2019

EV Fallacies Debunked - "This Other Site Isn’t Using EV So I Shouldn’t Either"

One logical fallacy that frequently occurs when evaluating Extended Validation is to assume that if some other site is not using EV SSL, that means you shouldn't either. Read on to learn why this reasoning is a dangerous fallacy.

Should We Keep Calling the EV-SSL-Enabled Interface a “Green Address Bar?”Sometimes IT decision makers seem to be going out of their way to find excuses not to invest in Extended Validation SSL. That may owe itself to the fact that it’s easier not to ask for incremental budget, especially when you’re not the one on the hook for hitting the site’s business metric targets. It may owe itself to loss aversion. Either way, we commonly observe this mental exercise of trying to find a reason not to go with EV.

One of those reasons we hear is that such-and-such of a site doesn’t use EV, so that means I don’t have to either. Typically that site is a competitor or something that is considered a leading web property. Amazon and Google are common choices.

This reasoning is riddled with logical flaws. They more or less divide into assuming that these other sites are making an optimized decision and assuming that their situations match yours.

Here are some reason this other company may not have made an optimized decision:

  • The company may not have done its homework about the expected effect of the EV green address bar.
  • The company may have determined that EV would improve site performance but that other higher-priority tasks or budget items would improve it more.
  • The company may have made a suboptimal decision due to internal political pressure.

And here are some reasons this other site may not be in the same situation as yours:

  • The other company may have a very different level of brand perception than you do. Even if its customers are unaffected or only mildly affected by the presence of a company-branded green address bar, that doesn’t mean the same is true for you.
  • The company may have decided that using wildcard certificates is more beneficial to the business than the expected upside from EV SSL. That may not be true for your site.
  • The other company may have different objectives for its site than you do or even an entirely different business model.

Surely there are others. But either way, it’s important not to blindly assume that another business made the optimized decision for EV or that this business’s optimized decision would be the same as yours.

This fallacy is particularly egregious when it comes to competitors. So your competitor is doing something suboptimal, failing to maximize transactions and site usage, providing a worse customer experience, and missing out on the opportunity to create a positive brand impression. That’s great news. You can gain a leg up in all these ways by showing you’re using best of breed technology to protect site visitors. Or you can fail to rise to the occasion and just copy your competitors’ level of mediocrity.