User Reputation: Building Trust and Addressing Privacy Issues in the Sharing Economy

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Ahead of the Federal Trade Commission’s June 9 workshop on the sharing economy, “User Reputation: Building Trust and Addressing Privacy Issues in the Sharing Economy” by Joseph Jerome, Benedicte Dambrine, and Ben Ambrose discusses the reputational, trust and privacy challenges users and providers face concerning the management and accuracy of shared information.

Sharing economy services – such as Uber, Airbnb, Etsy, and TaskRabbit, among others – rely heavily on online and mobile platforms for transactions and the peer-to-peer sharing of critical, ‘reputational’ information. This includes data regarding recommendations, ratings, profile access, review challenges, account deletion, and more. The FPF survey provides an overview of how reputation-building and trust are frequently essential assets to a successful peer-to-peer exchange, and how ratings, peer reviews, and user comments serve as core functions of such services. It examines the commonly used mechanisms to build reputation, as well as issues surrounding identity and anonymity, and the role of social network integration.

The report undertook a survey of a number of market leaders in the sharing economy sectors of transportation (Lyft, Sidecar, Uber), hospitality (Airbnb, HomeAway, Couchsurfing), retail goods (Etsy, NeighborGoods, eBay) and general services (TaskRabbit, Instacart, Handy) to review how these platforms implement access and correction capabilities. Brands were surveyed to see how they implement access rights, correction and response mechanisms, and whether they provide clear guidance for deleting account information.

User Reputation is available to read here.