Trust and Online Reputation Systems
edited by: Jennifer Golbeck
Web 2.0 technologies provide organizations with unprecedented opportunities to expand and solidify relationships with their customers, partners, and employees—while empowering firms to define entirely new business models focused on sharing information in online collaborative environments. Yet, in and of themselves, these technologies cannot ensure productive online interactions. Leading enterprises that are experimenting with social networks and online communities are already discovering this fact and along with it, the importance of establishing trust as the foundation for online collaboration and transactions. Just as today’s consumers must feel secure to bank, exchange personal information and purchase products and services online; participants in Web 2.0 initiatives will only accept the higher levels of risk and exposure inherent in e-commerce and Web collaboration in an environment of trust. Indeed, only by attending to the need to cultivate online trust with customers, partners and employees will enterprises ever fully exploit the expanded business potential posed by Web 2.0. But developing online trust is no easy feat. While various preliminary attempts have occurred, no definitive model for establishing or measuring it has yet been established. To that end, nGenera has identified three, distinct dimensions of online trust: reputation (quantitative-based); relationship (qualitative-based) and process (system-based). When considered together, they form a valuable model for understanding online trust and a toolbox for cultivating it to support Web 2.0 initiatives.