Are you linking out to your merchants in a framed window? Might want to reconsider that:
The challenge for online merchants is to ensure that their online payments systems are secure, and to then convince women, a key shopping demographic, that it is safe to use a credit card online. Alternate forms of payment, such as Paypal, or the one-time purchase numbers offered by credit card companies, could help encourage more female consumers to make purchases on the Net.
I’ve seen an affiliate site or two (well actually several) that have their aff links open a new window that frames the merchant site. I understand the benefits to this, it helps protect against parasite or adware thieving, protects against ad blocking plus gives your shopper an easy way back to your site (there’s usually a link home in the top frame).
The downside is that the customer cannot be assured the buying process is secure or safe. Because the checkout page is framed, the yellow padlock that even newbies watch for before entering their credit card details online won’t appear on the status bar.
I wonder how many buyers leave the checkout process without making a purchase because they’re afraid the transaction won’t be secure vs. how many commissions are lost by taking a hit from a parasite on the shopper’s computer? I tend to think there’s a higher rate of shoppers not willing to risk a non-secure transaction and walking away. I know I would.
I think it’s important that we encourage our visitors to shop safely and securely – not condition them to ignore built-in security features and believe it’s safe because some webmaster ‘told them it was’. That’s just setting the stage for negative experiences, and then the big headlines (which is baaaad for business).