Experts on Trust – Stefan Egger

This week’s expert statement on Trust is written by Stefan Egger. Stefan is an experienced online journalist and project manager who knows how to handle the online world. His key statement: „Trust makes or breaks an online service“ – it’s as simple as that….

Three questions on Trust

  • Whom do we trust online?

My trust policy on the Internet is based on three principles:
1) Brand name (trustworthy companies/organisations/websites); I don’t have second thoughts logging on at my bank, mobile phone provider or online newspapers/forums that I have been using for a long time.
2) Action history (contact with company/organisation/persons in the past) Trust can be earned by new forums / online shops etc. If I am disappointed or feel personal data are misused, I stop correspondence immediately.
3) Security standards. This part is ONLY relevant for payment and/or online banking purposes. I don’t worry about other information (including my e-mail address and phone number) on the Web. In my opinion, that’s what the Internet is for – exchange of information without (technical) barriers.

  • What is your trust built on?

My basic trust in the medium is based on my experience (>10 years). Despite excessive (and not always „safe“) use of the Internet as such, I have never experienced problems with shared information, spam, DOS-attacks, nasty viruses (that couldn’t be removed and/or destroyed a computer/OS) or online fraud of any form. All my purchases (even with small companies outside Austria/Europe), almost all guarantee claims etc. did work as well as or better than in the classical retail world.

Personal recommendations are second only to my own experience, as in „real life“ – but only from people with online expertise.

  • What difference does trust make?

Trust from my point of view makes or breaks a website/online service. Especially with so-called Web 2.0 applications where user interaction is king. No or little trust means no interaction, few registered users, no premium service subscribers/buyers etc. plus low advertisement revenues or low credibility rates for non-commercial services.
An interesting aspect is that less experienced users often tend to share all their information for little or no benefit. Bad experiences shared by users can in these cases easily be a showstopper later.

Trust Exchange Research

Read all about the research on trust in online media on our background pages.
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