Trust as a Commodity

Today’s internet is filled with intrusive advertisement, spyware, spam, and many other annoyances. It’s hard to find anything worth trusting. Trust is an online commodity.

What makes online trust so valuable? Users have thousands of choices when choosing online services. If there are two equal services in terms of functionality, the one that is “the good guy” in the eyes of the user will undoubtedly win.

Let me backtrack: in order to succeed, the service must be the best offered. Trust means nothing if your product sucks. Just look at the number of people who have use KaZaa regularly. When a more “trustworthy” alternative to KaZaa was released (KaZaa Lite – spyware free) it quickly became a replacement for most users of KaZaa. KaZaa has since shut down development and most distribution of KaZaa Lite because of the losses experienced due to a trustworthy alternative being released. Likewise, if a P2P network like soulseek had the network and selection that KaZaa does, it would quickly replace KaZaa as the de facto place to steal music because it does not come bundled with spyware.

eBay is an excellent example of how online trust can work. eBay beats all other auction sites because it is the best service – and it also has the retaining value that people can rely on a mostly pure seller rating system. If a seller gets negative feedback in any instance, it automatically hinders his/her ability to continue successfully auctioning off their goods. Users say “I’m not going to buy from someone I can’t trust” and find the product from another seller, even if it is for a higher price.

Another example of online trust is Google. How did Google become so popular? Their simplicity helps, but really it’s because of credible search results. Before Google, search engines would sell the #1 spots for keywords to the highest bidder (this actually still goes on)—users grew weary, and stopped using the tainted engines. Of course, the second Google becomes an “evil” company, or if they don’t do anything about their rising spam problems, users will start flock to vivisimo, or other searches that are “good” until they get greedy/lazy.

So, in an effort to make myself more valuable (in internet terms) I have re-acquired a fairly large asset: 859 users, all of which are students at Murray State University.

I’ve also done some community service in the blogosphere recently.

I’m also fairly accessible for basic computer repairs and not so basic repairs for the mere compensation of a meal.

Where does this all go? What is the big plan? What do I have in store for the grand scheme of things? I have no idea. I do know that I have a large audience that I can push a product on that considers me very trustworthy and reliable.

My next project will be similar to ORBlogs. Well, slightly different “Kentucky” version of ORBlogs. It will incorporate XML feeds, GeoURL, phpBB, Movable Type, and IRC. The idea is to expand the social networking that MSURacers has accomplished state-wide.

After the KY Blogging project, the sky is the limit.


About andyhillky
I'm cool.

4 Responses to Trust as a Commodity

  1. Bittel says:

    Just Remember Bofe, we still love you over at the

  2. burr-merica says:

    trust as a commodity sounds like a cellar door song or something

  3. Ross says:

    Good deeds yield loyalty.

  4. Big Dog says:

    I definitely like the way Google does things in general, but the absurdity of things like “Google bombs” are probably going to force them to have to make some changes. I can’t forsee what those changes might be, not being an expert in the finer points of search engines, but unless Google finds a way to deal with them, they may some day find themselves the victims of their own system.

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