Transparency of owner’s information: the cornerstone of a website’s reliability

Among the information sought by Scamdoc when it performs a website analysis, the owner’s identification data are clearly the most important for its algorithm. To put it simply or to say it differently: the more transparent a website is about its owner’s identity, the higher its score! On the contrary, its score can drastically be lowered if the owner “hides” or simply omits to introduce themselves… even if they are perfectly legitimate.

What are the expected identification data?

The company that manages Scamdoc is French. In France, there is a law that Scamdoc’s founders particularly appreciate, called “the law of trust in the digital economy”, which, in line with a European directive, clearly explains the information a professional website must display.

Well, despite the fact that this law does not usually apply on an international scale, the Scamdoc team has decided to make it a reference by considering that the European approach should be the norm! Moreover, Scamdoc calls this the “Scamdoc Standard”.

So, here are the information a professional site must display to be considered transparent towards its users:

  • The name of the company (or the first and last name of the manager in the case of a sole proprietorship)
  • The company’s postal address
  • The company’s identification number
  • The email to contact the company
  • The phone number to contact it
  • The details of the publishing director: this is a natural person (not a legal entity) who has the editorial responsibility for the website.

Why are these informations important?

Information symmetry is an essential concept for establishing trust between 2 parties. On the internet, we generally have a professional on one side and an individual on the other. Information is considered “symmetric” when both participants have the same level of information.

When a user enters into a commercial relationship with a professional, they provide several pieces of information: their identification and postal details. Well, information symmetry requires exactly the same thing from the professional in order to establish a relationship of trust!

If the information is asymmetric (that the professional knows more than the user), Scamdoc then considers that the reliability level is low.

So, to summarize, displaying identification data on a professional website is essential to establish trust and transparency. It facilitates communication with customers in case of a problem and demonstrates the professionalism and responsibility of the company.

Where should these informations be presented?

For a website, ideally, anywhere it is possible: on the website itself and on its “identity card” (the Whois database).

Scamdoc analyzes sites to try to find these information. The more apparent they are, the more likely they are to be analyzed and generate a high trust score. In some cases, the system cannot find the information by itself. In this case, it is possible to assist it by indicating it through a score review form.

What are the limits and the sites not concerned by this criterion?

Non-professional (i.e., personal) sites are not subject to this criterion. However, it is necessary to inform the algorithm of the website’s specificity through the review form. It is rare that Scamdoc detects it on its own…

Moreover, there is another limit: some websites may deliberately display false information. Even though it sometimes allows to artificially boost their score, cross-referencing information can lead Scamdoc to apply a severe penalty on this point. It is therefore a risky business…

What is the impact of this criterion on the Scamdoc score?

Scamdoc partially evaluates the reliability of websites based on the transparency of the owner’s identification data.

When a site does not present any identification data, Scamdoc infers a lack of transparency and reduces the reliability score.

If the information is incomplete, in accordance with the “Scamdoc Standard”, the site receives a score improvement, as partial identification is possible. However, the trust score will not reach its maximum potential as all the information necessary for complete identification is not available.

On the other hand, a site displaying all the required identification data according to the “Scamdoc Standard” is likely to obtain a high trust score.

It is essential to note that Scamdoc does not simply check for the presence or absence of information. Scamdoc’s algorithm is designed to detect inconsistencies or false information. If a site presents false information or stolen data, this can lead to a sharp drop in the score. So, more than the presence of information, their truthfulness and consistency are crucial to obtain a favorable trust score.