Is there such a thing as W3C certified companies? If so, does this have a discernable impact on the quality provided of such site? Does it provide a competitive advantage?
What Is W3C?
W3C stands for World Wide Web Consortium. It is an organization dedicated to establishing Internet specifications, guidelines, software, and tools for a streamlined, more interconnected online experience. The scope of the organization is not limited to businesses, but works for the benefit of ALL online entities, be it non-profit, enthusiasts or knowledge-sharing sites.
In plain English, W3C is working to make sure everybody speaks the same language on the net. As of this writing, they have 421 active members including companies like Apple, Microsoft, SAP and many others with considerable sway in the market.
The technology industry is a cutthroat area where credentials can decide whether you even get an interview or not. Oftentimes, the number of acronyms and certifications on your business card is directly related to your rate. That applies to companies as well, where gold or platinum partnerships, ISO-certification and other factors can tip the balance when bidding for projects.
In other words, it seems like the market is ripe for a W3C certification. Sure enough, the topic has been discussed since 2003. Unfortunately, at this point there is no formal W3C certification for companies or for web developers.
Bottom Line: There Are No W3C Certified Companies
Those who talk about being W3C certified companies probably mean they're members of W3C and thus have a say in the W3C standards process, but every shred on the topic originating from W3C itself currently say there is no such program in place. It may change in the future, but right now the case is pretty much closed.