Accreditation Programs

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The goal of this page is to examine other accreditation programs such as the BBB. By looking at other programs that offer their own kind of "seal," we hope to develop a comprehensive set of standards we can use to certify DNS industry members with a DNS Seal of Approval.

Examples

Better Business Bureau

  • In order to join the BBB, you must meet their Accreditation Standards or "Code of Business Practices."[1]
  • This code is based on their 8 Standards for Trust Principles.[1][2] I think it is interesting that the BBB discusses their idealistic principles and then defines these principles in concrete ways to create their code of conduct.
  • The BBB also has a rating/grade system for its members.[3]

Standards for Trust

  1. Build Trust
  2. Advertise Honestly
  3. Tell the Truth
  4. Be Transparent
  5. Honor Promises Fulfill
  6. Be Responsive
  7. Safeguard Privacy
  8. Embody Integrity[2]

Code of Business Practices

  1. In order to apply, you must have a business in an approved industry for a designated amount of time. We could for instance say that you must be an ICANN approved registry/registrar for a certain amount of time or even broaden it more to include that the business must have been in running for at least 6 mo.
  2. In order to be compliant, you must not have any government actions pending against your business. We could just tack on something about also not having a breach of contract with ICANN or other DNS regulatory bodies in addition to government bodies.
  3. The BBB has rules about how its logo is used. We could also use similar policies.
  4. Another aspect that applies is having the company provide a clearly designated policies pages to avoid misleading customers.[1]
  5. The BBB's whole safeguarding privacy section is also very applicable to our situation, considering the personal and financial information that registrars/etc have access to.[1]

Process

  • To join the BBB, a business must meet certain standards. A review board then decides if the business is admitted to the BBB.[4] Fees are paid to apply for accreditation and periodically after accreditation in order for the BBB to provide monitoring of the accepted business.[5]

Points to Consider

  • Would we want to charge an application fee and annual fees? How much?
  • Would we want to establish our own DRP?
  • In terms of complaints, if the DNS Seal receives a complaint, what amount of time should be deemed appropriate for the business to send a response acknowledging the claim and taking appropriate action?
  • Oregon's local BBB also includes a Code of Advertising, addressing advertising practices specifically, which you can see on their website.

Caring Company Scheme

  • The Caring Company Scheme is dedicated to "building strategic partnerships among businesses and non-profit organisations to create a more cohesive society."[6] It is for Hong Kong businesses and organizations.
  • Its broad goals include raising awareness of corporate responsibility, encouraging cooperation "among the public, business and charitable organisations," and to recognize the companies and organizations that show good corporate citizenship.[6]

Process

  • A company/organization must be nominated for the Caring Companies or Organization logo. It cannot apply for the logo directly.[7]
    • Only charities and HKCSS members can nominate a company.[8]
  • Submitting the nomination form for review comes with a fee ranging from $200-$600 dollars depending on the date of submission and the affiliations of the nominating organization/company.
  • Additionally, companies are reviewed every year for compliance.[7][8]

Eligibility

  • According to Caring Company's Nomination Form[8], companies are judged based on how many criteria they meet within three broad sections: caring for employees, caring for the environment, and caring for the community.
    • There are a total of 17 criteria and businesses or organizations are required to meet at least two from each section.[8]
  • Complaints against a company with the logo or any other kind of perceived ethical violations can result in the suspension of the offending company until the matter is investigated.[8]
    • Example criteria include: volunteering, mentoring, employee safety and wellness, and eco-friendly practices.[8]

Points of Interest

  • Its nomination style as opposed to application style of reviewing members is interesting.[7]
  • After passing large landmarks with the logo, such as 5 or 10 years, the logo is adjusted to reflect the dedication of the company.[9]
  • Companies and organizations are reviewed each year to see if they fit the scheme's requirements.[7][8]
  • The criteria outlined in the nomination form seem pretty vague though noble.[8]
  • If the Caring Company logo is used in ads or on products, the ads must be sent to the HKCSS first for approval.[8]

Federation of Hong Kong Industries

  • The Federation of Hong Kong Industries (FHKI) awards 3 different quality assurance marks, divided by industry.[10] A product can be given a quality product mark, a quality service mark, or a green mark.
  • The general goals of the FHKI are to represent industrial and business interests, to "promote trade, investment, technological advancement, manpower development, and business opportunities in Hong Kong," and to assist the government with policies that address business issues.[11]

Eligibility

  • Applying companies must operate in China or Macau.[10]
  • Companies must also meet Q-Mark Council designated standards for each mark.

Application Process for the Green Mark

  • Companies submit applications to the FHKI.[12]
  • An FHKI auditor will go to the locations seeking certification to evaluate them in comparison to the council's standards.[12]
  • Quarterly audits will continue to ensure the the company locations continue to meet the appropriate standards.
  • Q-Mark Certificates last 3 years before a company must reapply.[10]

Benefits

  • FHKI highlight the benefits that come with having a Q-Mark, such as advertising at Q-Mark Events in addition to "billboards, public transports, local newspapers and professional magazines."[10]
  • Good will is mentioned, but not at the expense of direct advertising benefits.[10] This is unlike the Caring Companies Scheme which admits that the only benefit a company might receive is good will.[8]

Points to Consider

  • Making benefits concrete as well as image oriented.

Good Housekeeping

Policy

  • Basically, the Good Housekeeping Seal guarantees that a product has been inspected by Good Housekeeping and been approved; additionally, it has a two year limited warranty attached to it through Good Housekeeping's endorsement.[13]
  • If there is something wrong with the product, Good Housekeeping can provide compensation "in the form of a refund, repair or replacement."[13]

Requirements

  • Must pass a quality test.
  • Can apply at any time and with no additional fees.[13]
  • Some products and/or services cannot receive the Good Housekeeping Seal, such as financial services, insurance, realty, summer camps, medication, etc.[13]

Points to Consider

  • Not sure there is much we can extrapolate from the Good Housekeeping Seal, except that there will have to be some testing and inspection of registry/registrar/reseller conduct.
  • It's unlikely the Seal will want to take direct financial responsibility if one of its members is unsatisfactory.
  • An additional point of interest is that there is no fee to apply to get this seal and that one can submit an application at any time.[13]

LEED Certification

  • This certification is awarded by the US Green Building Council.[14]
  • It is meant to encourage "green" building.

Process

  1. Register project: basically fill in the details of your building project, ie what kind of construction project it is.
  2. Apply: Find and count the LEED points/credits that you are aiming to gain in your project. Additionally, there is an application fee.
  3. Review: there is a preliminary review and then a final review where you can add in any extra credits you expect to gain.
  4. Certification: from this point you can either accept your certification or appeal it. There is a certification fee.
  • This process is one of the least labor intensive and is done completely online. There is definitely an element of trust as the GBCI does not investigate the site of a LEED applicant or a LEED certified building unless there is a complaint.[15]

Points to Consider

  • There are 4 different certification levels based on how many points a project has:Certified (40-49); Silver (50-59); Gold (60-79); Platinum (80+) .[14]
    • Platinum members get 20 hrs of free publicity help from the GBCI press folks.[15]
  • LEED buildings must be re-certified every 5 years.[15]
  • A challenge can be issued within 18 months of receiving a LEED Certification.[15]
  • LEED has a PDF document that suggests different ways of advertising the achievement of becoming certified.[16] This document also specifies how to use their logos in press releases.
  • Would it be necessary to have people reapply for the Seal after a number of years or would it be better to pull a BBB and simply have people pay a renewal fee?

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 http://www.bbb.org/council/for-businesses/about-bbb-accreditation/bbb-code-of-business-practices-bbb-accreditation-standards/
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://www.bbb.org/council/about/vision-mission-and-values/bbb-standards-for-trust/
  3. http://www.bbb.org/council/overview-of-bbb-grade/?id=237981&epslanguage=en
  4. http://www.bbb.org/council/about/vision-mission-and-values/
  5. http://www.bbb.org/council/about/frequently-asked-questions/
  6. 6.0 6.1 http://www.caringcompany.org.hk/about.php?tid=100&id=121
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 http://www.caringcompany.org.hk/join.php?tid=200&id=211
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 8.9 http://www.caringcompany.org.hk/join.php?tid=200&id=230 PDF DOWNLOAD or WORD DOWNLOAD
  9. http://www.caringcompany.org.hk/join.php
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 http://www.industryhk.org/english/fs/fs_qmark/fs_qmark_obj.php
  11. http://www.industryhk.org/english/aboutus/aboutus_obj/aboutus_obj.php
  12. 12.0 12.1 http://www.industryhk.org/english/fs/fs_qmark/fs_qmark_gm.php
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/product-reviews/history/good-housekeeping-seal-faqs
  14. 14.0 14.1 http://www.usgbc.org/leed/certification
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 http://www.usgbc.org/cert-guide/commercial#introduction
  16. http://www.usgbc.org/resources/public-relations-guidelines-leed-certified-projects-0