Here’s a good article about why news sites on the web are slow to embrace SSL. The short answer is, the advertising services they use are not prepared to support it.

This seems like an opportunity for publishers. How about this: make SSL available now, and turn off ads until the technical issues are settled. That’s right.

Firstly, it sends a pro-consumer message: “we’ve upgraded our site at no charge to you”.

Second, it offers the publisher a bit of market segmentation: users who seek out the SSL site are probably well-informed and relatively elite. Publishers can pitch them a subscription or, ding ding, better-targeted ads.

Third, the click-through rate on ads is less than 1%. Most ad impressions are wasted, and thus degrade the sites on which they appear. Maybe fewer ads will demonstrate what a better product looks like.

At the end of the day, there is a clear competitive benefit to be offered to customers, which requires a short-term loss against a long-term gain for the product and for the industry. Seems like an opportunity.