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How mobile developers can win customers' trust

Paul Rubens | Feb. 6, 2014
Many of today's mobile and Web applications collect personal data. This makes plenty of users pause before downloading. To ease user's minds -- and to help developers demonstrate that they have legitimate reasons for collecting that information -- MyPermissions has established a permissions certificate process to deem apps 'trustworthy.'

Perhaps a better answer is that it may bring more users to your apps. During testing, apps that displayed the MyPermissions Certified mark saw conversion rates rise between 5 percent and 9 percent, Amar says. (In this case, "conversion rate" means users actually ran the applications after downloading them or signed into them using a system such Facebook Connect, rather than abandoning them.) That's a significant amount of numbers users - and it could provide a useful increase in revenue as well.

MyPermissions Certification Helps Developers Improve App Downloads
Given that most people have never heard of the MyPermissions certification scheme or know what the "Certified" mark means, does it really work?

Rounds — developer of the video chat service that can be accesses through an iOS or Android mobile app, through the company's website, or as a Facebook or Chrome app — went through the MyPermissions certification process.

"When you download the app, the first screen you see when you connect via Facebook is the MyPermissions certification," says Rounds CMO Natasha Shine-Zirkel. "Even if the user doesn't know what MyPermissions is, seeing that we are certified by a third party means a lot to end users. They trust us."

There's hard evidence to support this, too. When the company started to display the MyPermissions Certified mark on its start screen, it saw an 8 percent rise in the number of people who downloaded the app and then logged on using Facebook Connect, Shine-Zirkel says. (That said, a simultaneous application redesign may have contributed to the increase as well.)

Binpress, a marketplace for commercial open-source projects, also earned MyPermissions certification. CEO Adam Benayoun set up an A/B test on his website and found that "significantly more" people signed up when presented with the MyPermissions Certification mark than when they weren't.

"We saw the difference the same day," he says. "A lot of people clicked on the seal to find out what it meant - but, in fact, a lot of people just saw the seal and it inspired trust. That's important. So many people decide not to sign up at the last minute because they don't trust you."

Changing Application Permissions May Require Recertification
For now, many users seem willing to accept a third party trust mark, even if they don't know exactly what it means. But what happens if developers abuse this trust by adding extra permissions or using information in new ways after they've been certified?

Amar says his company monitors more than 400,000 apps. If any certified companies change their permissions, then they're contacted if MyPermissions is not happy. If changes aren't made to bring the app in to compliance with the program, then it could lose its certification.


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