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Stanford Sociology Department Partners with TrustCloud to Research P2P Marketplace Trust

The Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS) at Stanford University and the provider of trust and risk solutions for the internet TrustCloud announce today a research partnership to investigate trustworthiness in peer-to-peer marketplaces (p2p). Their research will explore the broad topic of trust in p2p marketplaces and, among other things, analyze whether trust is portable across different types of p2p marketplaces, such as those that let you share property and material resources as opposed to skills. Further questions that will be examined are: Do indicators of trust correlate to offline behavior? Is trust transitive (if I can trust you, can I trust your friend)?

P2p marketplaces are online platforms such as Craigslist, eBay and AirBnB that allow private individuals to share resources with one another. The recent growth of such marketplaces on the Web has shed light on the significance of trust between strangers for online transactions. “An event as simple as Manti Te’o and his mystery girlfriend teaches us that not everything we see online is true or trustworthy. Our mission is to increase trust among p2p marketplaces users,” says Xin Chung, co-founder and CEO of TrustCloud. “This research partnership will enable us to validate our trust system and improve our trust formulas on the basis of empirical data.”

In 2011 Stanford researchers conducted a study with the international hospitality network CouchSurfing to develop a quantitative model of interpersonal trust (more information here). It was one of the first studies examining an online community like CouchSurfing, attempting to better understand why, despite high risks, people are willing to share their couches with travelers at no cost. According to Paolo Parigi, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Stanford University and one of the PIs in the above mentioned study, “there is evidence that communities based on trust can be built using technology. By partnering with a startup in the p2p space, we aim to develop and extend our prior research in this field.”

About TrustCloud

TrustCloud, a New York based tech startup, is building a trust system for the Web that provides internet users with up to date and portable trust indicators. As an equivalent to a credit score, TrustCloud generates a "TrustScore" for each of its users based on interpretations of universal indicators of trust such as transparency, longevity and endorsements, which are then filtered through layers of verification, behavior and transactions.

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