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  1. #1
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    How should SSL be priced?

    SSL has always been priced on a yearly basis (VeriSign set the industry standard)..... the technology was designed that way....

    I have been thinking about different pricing models --- not taking the same industry standard approach.... maybe a little more flexible that allows for monthly payments etc....

    But my question is what do you think... How should SSL be priced in a way that is fair to the host, consumer and ssl provider?

    I would appreciate any thoughts or ideas.... (as a starter -- free will not work -- unless there is a follow on revenue model that works with free).
    Last edited by Chicken; 09-28-2002 at 02:48 AM.
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  2. #2
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    I think yearly is fine - $50 to $100 isn't a lot of money after all, considering what a SSL cert is used for. As it works whether there's support for it or not I don't feel monthly fees are worth the trouble.

    Side note:
    shame we never heard back from you guys regarding reselling your certs... a good thing we don't need support to install them if the lack of response is any indication.

    Greg Moore
    Former Webhost... now, just a guy.
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  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    Originally posted by GeoTrustCEO
    just let me know what happened with GeoTrust
    nothing happened. I e-mailed regarding having our business resell your certs as mentioned on the website. no response.

    But having said that, we still use Geotrust. It works, it's affordable compared to Thawte and their money grab, and getting one is a simple process. We have another server going online next week and we'll be using Geotrust to secure that too.

    I think there could be a little work on that enquiry end of things though. Even if it was a simple "No, we don't want you"

    Greg Moore
    Former Webhost... now, just a guy.
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  5. #5
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    Ok -- fair enough.....
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  6. #6
    well, everyone is raising SSL prices lately
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  7. #7
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    A monthly-quarterly payment on things like wildcarded, and higher priced things, but the price for a general cert is low enough it would be more of a hassle...
    -Mat Sumpter
    Director, Product Engagement
    Penton Media
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  8. #8
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    License question - Geotrust?

    Our dilemma is this:

    We were recently informed by Thawte that their SSL certificate license requires one certificate for every server. We have a cluster of load-balanced webservers right now, each of which responds to https://secure.modwest.com (and many different customer certs). All the webservers NFS-mount a central fileserver, so each cert is only installed once.

    We are concerned that if an SSL provider requires us to have a cert for every server, this will become very expensive very quickly as we grow.

    We detailed our grievances to Thawte, and they promptly terminated our reseller account.

    We tried InstantSSL, but it really is not supported well enough by Mac/AOL browsers -- we had 3 dozen complaints within 14 hours of switching. Some of the complaints were regarding a complete failure to negotiate an SSL connection (128-bit incapable browsers) and others gave a warning abotu the root CA not being recognized.

    Bottom line, we are looking to switch SSL providers.

    So we need:

    * ability of certs to step down to 40 bit for export version browsers that are incapable of 128 bit SSL
    * license requirements that do not include a count of physical load-balanced servers
    * good support for 99%+ browsers, including recent versions of IE for Mac


    Thanks in advance for any tips or suggestions.
    John Masterson
    Former Hosting Company Owner
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  9. #9

    License fee's

    Hi,

    Don't most CA's charge licensing fee's if the cert is to be used on more than one server?

    Interested to hear what the status quo is.

    Cheers,
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  10. #10
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    Yearly subscription is right.
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  11. #11
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    I suggest $50 or $5 mo. for a certificate. Server-wide certificates I'd price at $150, or $15/mo. Just my suggestion.

    Frankly, what does a CA do that a certificate should cost so much?
    I see a trend to go to free certificates, and think that's what will eventually happen if some of these CA's keep their prices so high.

    Me, for $50 or less, I'd probably buy one. If over $50, I'd just use self-sign my own for $0.
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  12. #12
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    We're using SSL certs to secure XML Web Service application servers. Inside a organization, self-signing is fine. But any organization to organization connection needs to be signed a "proper" certificate.

    Anything over $50 dollars a year is a heavy operating expense for small companies that just want to expose a Web Service.
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  13. #13
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    Can anyone comment on the array of load balanced webservers licensing question?
    John Masterson
    Former Hosting Company Owner
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  14. #14
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    We are working on a new pricing model for that....

    We have some good suggestions coming in on our site on our web hosting discussion group.... licensing seems to be a hot topic.
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  15. #15
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    i work with web farms, but i don't see any reason for special pricing.

    if you have a farm of 10 win2k advanced servers with coldfusion, you have to buy software for each.

    just a thought
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  16. #16
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    I'm interesting in the multiple server part too, as we offer free SSL to our customers via a wildcard cert and don't feel like paying $500 for each server that the Wildcard cert services as there may be only 5 or 10 customers per server who actually use it. The idea of the wildcard was to get maximum value from it by using it across all the servers.
    Karl Austin :: KDA Web Services Ltd.
    UK Business Hosting and Managed Servers - Hosting for Business Users :: 0800 5429 764
    Call us today and ask about our hosting solutions.
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  17. #17
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    Can you tell me which browsers you don't support with your cert? And is there any trial period or money back guaranty? Your cost may be quite good when you compare with Verisign and Thawte but I don't know you well and I think a lots don't either. I think first of all you should promote yourself. By this way maybe you can use monthly ( quarterly or semi-yearly better ) pricing type.
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  18. #18
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    Originally posted by GeoTrustCEO
    We are working on a new pricing model for that....

    We have some good suggestions coming in on our site on our web hosting discussion group.... licensing seems to be a hot topic.
    Neal

    I thought you might be interested in InstantSSL wildcard certificate pricing. You are right that the people in the industry need a new pricing for ssl licensing and InstantSSL has a pricing for wildcard certs at $450 each and only $10 for additional servers! This is going to create a serious dent on other CAs revenue!!

    Hosty
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  19. #19
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    I don't think InstantSSL is a threat to the industry at all. With all the spamming done by the "Comodo dragon", I wouldn't have one if it was only $1.
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  20. #20
    The idea of the wildcard was to get maximum value from it by using it across all the servers.
    I totally agree. Oh, how I love telling this story and now you all get to hear it too.

    April 1998. We had just started hosting and had purchased a wildcard cert from Thawte for $125 for use on a single server with multiple host names. This was before they got bought out by that piece of BS called Verisign. We were happy, they weren't complaining. We renewed once after the initial purchase for $125.

    April 2000. Time for second renewal. By this time we had expanded considerably and had about 40 servers using the wildcard certificate. Thawte had been bought out by Verisign in December 1999. We suspected there would be trouble, but Verisign had promised prices wouldn't suddenly go up. What a load of bull! Here's a quote from their email:

    February 1, 2000

    Dear Thawte Customers and Future Customers:

    In December, VeriSign and Thawte announced their intentions
    to join forces. We hope this letter addresses any questions
    you may have about what this will mean for you.

    Please be assured that none of the things you love most about
    Thawte will change after the acquisition. This includes:

    - Low prices for SSL Server and Personal Certificates
    - The people you have dealt with at Thawte
    - Our commitment to innovation

    VeriSign and Thawte are committed to providing a low entry
    price for sites that wish to conduct secure e-commerce using
    SSL. In fact, we guarantee that Thawte SSL Server Certificates
    will continue to be available to both existing and new customers
    for $125 (or less!) at least through February 1, 2001. This
    is a firm offer which you can take advantage of at any time
    during this period. You can print out this page and save it
    as proof of our guarantee.
    Well, wouldn't you know it! They wanted to charge us $500 for the wildcard cert renewal in spite of their promise. Oooh, it made me so mad. Granted, we could afford it, but it's the principle of the matter.

    We decided to check out Equifax Secure instead. They were selling certs for $89 each. A dang good deal. I didn't see anything on their site saying we couldn't get a wildcard cert for that price, so I gave it a try. An email came back that said they wanted to charge $1000 for a wildcard cert. Not easily dissuaded from my dash away from all things Verisign, I negotiated it down to $500 since that's what the Versigned version of Thawte was charging for the same thing. All went smoothly during our year of use of the wildcard cert.

    April 2001. Sweet! Equifax Secure was honoring the renewal price of $500! We were using the cert as a shared SSL cert for our customers on about 50 servers at this point. We were happy clams and telling all of our customers to ditch Verisign/Thawte and buy their single host certs from Thawte.

    April 2002. Bloody moronic frigging pigmy monkies!! GeoTrust had bought out Equifax Secure in September 2001, before our wildcard cert came up for renewal. They tossed the single host cert holders a bone and allowed them to renew for $79 one more time. But, all us wildcard cert holders (we couldn't have been the only one) got a drive-by rubber glove bum frisk from GeoTrust. They suddenly wanted to charge us $500 per physical server claiming that's the way it had always been. Another load of bull, but this one topped even Verisign. By this time we had 60 or so servers using our wildcard cert for a shared SSL cert that customers could use via directory space. We thought at first that there was some misunderstanding. There was no way that I was going to pay $30,000 dollars for them to garble a bit of text and call it a product. After several heated emails, GeoTrust wasn't budging and didn't care that our previous renewals were only $500.

    By this time, Thawte was still charging $500 for a wildcard cert plus something like $200 per additional physical server beyond the first one. This was better than what GeoTrust was offering, but still a bloody rip-off. Verisign, of course, didn't offer wildcard certs.

    Our solution? At first, we just bought a QuickSSL cert from GeoTrust to use on our order site and our customers got to use a lovely self-signed cert for their shared SSL or they had to purchase their own cert if they didn't want the pop-up warning for their customers. It obviously ticked a few of our customers off, but what were we to do? I sure as hell wasn't going to fork out $12,300 or more every year for a cert that was being used for shared SSL by our customers.

    After a bit of research, we learned that anyone could make their own root CA certificate for signing certs. So, we did. We did the same thing that Thawte did when their root CA cert expired in 2000. We told everyone how to install our root CA cert into their browser so they didn't get the warning. We now offer free cert signing to our customers using our root CA cert. They love it and it didn't cost us one red cent.

    If the players in the cert industry are going to play their moronic little games and treat customers like doo doo, then we'll just usurp their business until Microsoft gets enough requests and adds our root CA cert to the new browser releases. Then, they're all going down. They deserve it and I'll show no mercy.

    So, who wants their free SSL cert? We'll hook you up if you're a customer. Sorry, can't do it for non-customers because we only do identity verification on customers.
    Sincerely,
    Andrew Kinney
    CTO, Advantagecom Networks
    http://www.SimplyWebHosting.com
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  21. #21
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    Thanks for that, Andrew. Sounds like you've really been thru the game of SSLs. Darn it, you are doing just what I want to do. I wish you would PM me and tell me how to figure this self-signed thing out. If not, I'll get it done somehow on my own.

    Paid SSL issuers... I doubt if they even try to verify the businesses are who they say they are. Even if they do, how much is it worth for them just to sign a certificate? Certainly no more than $25. I say we all go self-signed. I really don't think most people check out certificates. Most of the tme, if people see that security lock without a warning, they trust it.
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  22. #22
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    But if you use a self signed certificate, you'll get a warning as a non trusted authority.
    Shared Web Hosting - Reseller Hosting - Semi-Dedicated Servers - SolusVM/XEN VPS
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  23. #23
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    monthly wildcard fee

    the idea of a monthly fee for a wildcard cert useable on as many servers as you want appeals to us.
    http://www.boinghosting.com.au
    put the boing back into your site
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  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    Originally posted by chrisb
    Thanks for that, Andrew. Sounds like you've really been thru the game of SSLs. Darn it, you are doing just what I want to do. I wish you would PM me and tell me how to figure this self-signed thing out. If not, I'll get it done somehow on my own.

    Paid SSL issuers... I doubt if they even try to verify the businesses are who they say they are. Even if they do, how much is it worth for them just to sign a certificate? Certainly no more than $25. I say we all go self-signed. I really don't think most people check out certificates. Most of the tme, if people see that security lock without a warning, they trust it.

    chrisb, you are right about some of the SSL issuers don't even validate the company yet charge $119 for 200milisecond of computer time!! We all know what cost money is not the signing process but verification of the company. Geotrust is the only CA who do not validate the companies authentication yet they charge $119 for that! InstantSSL is the only company who, I know of, offer full validation of the company, back it up with a warranty and only charge $49. But if you are a hosting company like we are, then they offer discounts so that we can buy it less than $40 per certificate. Now, that aint a bad deal for fully validated 99% browser coverage with warranty. Thawte do not even offer warranty.

    Unfortunately, rightly or wrongly the end users have been educated/told to "trust" if they see the yellow padlock. Even though technically ssl is not built to offer identity assurance, this is what the users expect. So until we offer a proper identity assurance infrastructure (which I believe Comodo (instantssl) people are doing with IdAuthority) that could offer identity assurance to end users the meaning of SSL yellow padlock will continue and should continue to mean both identity validation and encryption. Geotrust, by not validating the companies authenticity and issuing SSL certs inspite of this is breaking this trust that users have without resolving the issue of identity assurance! First the problem of identity assurance must be solved so that end users have a means of verifying the legitimacy of the website/company. This is why Gartner has published a report really slating Geotrust for issuing ssl certs without validation. Now, thanks to Geotrust people will trust the yellow padlock thinking that the company legitimacy have been validated and do shopping with that website and only to realize that the company does not exist and is a fraudster! By validating the company you are reducing (not eliminating) the risk of this.

    So, at some stage, I personally think that SSL certs should be priced at less than $10 just as an encryption certificate and there should be other mechanisms to verify identity of the website, hence we achieve both identity assurance as well as encryption of the link between the end user and the website. But this should only come about when we can offer Identity Assurance!

    Hosty
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  25. #25
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    Jedito. I've seen a couple of secure pages that had no cerificate info and no warnings, so I assumed they were self-signed, or maybe not signed at all??? A previous host of mine, Net Hollywood (gone out of business, now) didn't have a warning on their shared certificate either. ...so I know it CAN be done, just not sure how.
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  26. #26
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    Well, I may still get a Geotrust certificate some day. I really don't care whether they verify the businesses or not. To me, the spamming that Comodo has done is far worse, and I would pay $500 for a certificate before I'd give a known spammer like Comodo, $50. (I have first-hand knowledge that Comodo spams because they have sent me spam at home on many occasions.)
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  27. #27
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    Location
    maidstone UK
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    Wild Card certificate

    Originally posted by advantagecom


    I totally agree. Oh, how I love telling this story and now you all get to hear it too.

    April 1998. We had just started hosting and had purchased a wildcard cert from Thawte for $125 for use on a single server with multiple host names. This was before they got bought out by that piece of BS called Verisign. We were happy, they weren't complaining. We renewed once after the initial purchase for $125.

    April 2000. Time for second renewal. By this time we had expanded considerably and had about 40 servers using the wildcard certificate. Thawte had been bought out by Verisign in December 1999. We suspected there would be trouble, but Verisign had promised prices wouldn't suddenly go up. What a load of bull! Here's a quote from their email:



    Well, wouldn't you know it! They wanted to charge us $500 for the wildcard cert renewal in spite of their promise. Oooh, it made me so mad. Granted, we could afford it, but it's the principle of the matter.

    We decided to check out Equifax Secure instead. They were selling certs for $89 each. A dang good deal. I didn't see anything on their site saying we couldn't get a wildcard cert for that price, so I gave it a try. An email came back that said they wanted to charge $1000 for a wildcard cert. Not easily dissuaded from my dash away from all things Verisign, I negotiated it down to $500 since that's what the Versigned version of Thawte was charging for the same thing. All went smoothly during our year of use of the wildcard cert.

    April 2001. Sweet! Equifax Secure was honoring the renewal price of $500! We were using the cert as a shared SSL cert for our customers on about 50 servers at this point. We were happy clams and telling all of our customers to ditch Verisign/Thawte and buy their single host certs from Thawte.

    April 2002. Bloody moronic frigging pigmy monkies!! GeoTrust had bought out Equifax Secure in September 2001, before our wildcard cert came up for renewal. They tossed the single host cert holders a bone and allowed them to renew for $79 one more time. But, all us wildcard cert holders (we couldn't have been the only one) got a drive-by rubber glove bum frisk from GeoTrust. They suddenly wanted to charge us $500 per physical server claiming that's the way it had always been. Another load of bull, but this one topped even Verisign. By this time we had 60 or so servers using our wildcard cert for a shared SSL cert that customers could use via directory space. We thought at first that there was some misunderstanding. There was no way that I was going to pay $30,000 dollars for them to garble a bit of text and call it a product. After several heated emails, GeoTrust wasn't budging and didn't care that our previous renewals were only $500.

    By this time, Thawte was still charging $500 for a wildcard cert plus something like $200 per additional physical server beyond the first one. This was better than what GeoTrust was offering, but still a bloody rip-off. Verisign, of course, didn't offer wildcard certs.

    Our solution? At first, we just bought a QuickSSL cert from GeoTrust to use on our order site and our customers got to use a lovely self-signed cert for their shared SSL or they had to purchase their own cert if they didn't want the pop-up warning for their customers. It obviously ticked a few of our customers off, but what were we to do? I sure as hell wasn't going to fork out $12,300 or more every year for a cert that was being used for shared SSL by our customers.

    After a bit of research, we learned that anyone could make their own root CA certificate for signing certs. So, we did. We did the same thing that Thawte did when their root CA cert expired in 2000. We told everyone how to install our root CA cert into their browser so they didn't get the warning. We now offer free cert signing to our customers using our root CA cert. They love it and it didn't cost us one red cent.

    If the players in the cert industry are going to play their moronic little games and treat customers like doo doo, then we'll just usurp their business until Microsoft gets enough requests and adds our root CA cert to the new browser releases. Then, they're all going down. They deserve it and I'll show no mercy.

    So, who wants their free SSL cert? We'll hook you up if you're a customer. Sorry, can't do it for non-customers because we only do identity verification on customers.
    Dear Andrew

    I totally agree with what you are saying. I am just about to purchase a Wildcard from a company called Comodo. They have just recently dropped their prices and you can now purchase a WildCard certificate just for $449 and secure unlimited multiple sub domains. The great thing is that for each server after that they are charging just $10, quite incredible if you ask me. There site is www.instantssl.com if this may help you.
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  28. #28
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    Originally posted by chrisb
    Well, I may still get a Geotrust certificate some day. I really don't care whether they verify the businesses or not. To me, the spamming that Comodo has done is far worse, and I would pay $500 for a certificate before I'd give a known spammer like Comodo, $50. (I have first-hand knowledge that Comodo spams because they have sent me spam at home on many occasions.)
    I am a hosting company, and I have not been spammed by them... but even if I had been, I would have been grateful to know about the cost savings they have provided our company.

    I have saved a fortune on wildcards and individual certs.... and just about to offer all my customers free personal digital certs as well.

    Your company must be doing much better than mine if you can afford to be ethical on your purchasing.... or are you a GeoTrust reseller!

    The way I look at these things is if people contact me about relevant industry stuff ... I don't read it as spam .... send me a mail about cheap holidays and I react badly.

    So I think you need to get real!
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  29. #29
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    I do not think our wildcard pricing for server license ir right.

    Last week -- folks here told me that FreeSSL should be free for one year. We are making that change today it looks like.

    I hear you on server licenses. We are the same people from Equifax --- so you know this was basically a name change to GeoTrust in a move to get outside of Equifax.

    If you have any suggestions to improve our pricing or products just send me an email at [email protected].

    We are always listening and looking for constructive ways to make improvements.

    Neal
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  30. #30
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    Originally posted by GeoTrustCEO
    I do not think our wildcard pricing for server license ir right.

    Last week -- folks here told me that FreeSSL should be free for one year. We are making that change today it looks like.

    I hear you on server licenses. We are the same people from Equifax --- so you know this was basically a name change to GeoTrust in a move to get outside of Equifax.

    If you have any suggestions to improve our pricing or products just send me an email at [email protected].

    We are always listening and looking for constructive ways to make improvements.

    Neal
    Neal

    its good of you to acknowledge the above. It makes a positive change from your earlier attitude and reluctance in this forum to accept anything or reply to any questions asked. Why not follow InstantSSL folks and make your wildcard pricing as below. They seem to be leading the SSL market.

    1)$449 to buy the wildcard cert for a year
    2)only $10 for each additional server
    3)offer similar multi-year discounts like instantssl folks.


    Just some thoughts

    Hosty
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  31. #31
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    JFYI, I *am* real. I am not a host. It was pure spam from Comodo.
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  32. #32
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    I am not going to respond to folks from Comodo (sp?) on this board...(ie Hosty) -- all you kinda do is hang out here and comment on them.

    but I will respond to constructive comments from Hosts.

    We also have a discussion group on our site where hosts can make comments and suggestions.

    Regards,
    Neal
    Last edited by GeoTrustCEO; 09-03-2002 at 04:22 PM.
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  33. #33
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    Originally posted by GeoTrustCEO
    I am not going to respond to folks from Comodo (sp?) on this board...(ie Hosty) -- all you kinda do is hang out here and comment on them.

    but I will respond to constructive comments from Hosts.

    We also have a discussion group on our siet where hosts can make comments and suggestions.

    Regards,
    Neal
    Neal

    I am a host ( www.giointernet.com ) and here is a constructive comment from me to you:

    Stop lying about your competition. This is driving people away from you. I am a good example. You lied, when questioned you couldn't back up your lies, I lost faith in your company I went to your competition. Not only have you lost a customer, but gained an enemy because you insulted my intelligence. I am not the only one, I know few other hosts who now have moved to instantssl from Geotrust, ask yourself, why?

    I hope this is positive enough for you to stand up and take a look at what you are doing.

    You are Geotrust's worst enemy!

    Hosty
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  34. #34
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    Originally posted by chrisb
    JFYI, I *am* real. I am not a host. It was pure spam from Comodo.
    out of interest, why would you be reading these forums and even responding if you are not a webhost?
    FYI this is http://www.webhostingtalk.com! has your friend Neal (GeotrustCEO) asked you to come and support him, if so, pls help him, he needs it

    Hosty
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  35. #35
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    hmmm...

    Toasty Hosty......
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  36. #36
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    Originally posted by GeoTrustCEO
    hmmm...

    Toasty Hosty......
    Come on now Neal, stop being childish and answer the questions the web hosts like myself asking you:


    1)Back up your statement about: "certificate chaining that can cause issues with some browsers." And tell us which browser has problems with it and what these problems are

    2)Tell us why you put lies in the certificates you issue about pretending that you have validated the company identity: your certificates say:”Ensures the identity of a remote computer” just like a fully validated Verisign certificate. This is a dangerous practice and Gartner has warned everyone about it.

    You really are not doing any favours to Geotrust by avoiding legitimate questions asked by your own customers in these forums.

    Hosty
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  37. #37
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  38. #38
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  39. #39
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    Posts
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    Toasty Hosty ---

    Why dont you just call me?

    I will not bite you.....chomp chomp
      0 Not allowed!

  40. #40
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    186
    Originally posted by GeoTrustCEO
    Toasty Hosty ---

    Why dont you just call me?

    I will not bite you.....chomp chomp
    you are very funny, ha, ha.

    just answer the questions.
      0 Not allowed!

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