Small Business Branding Gets Easier With TrustPlus

You spend months answering questions at LinkedIn or building friends at MySpace. Your reputation grows as you share your knowledge and you build your brand with each community. Then you set up a store on eBay and no one knows who you are. You sigh thinking about all the work you’ll need to do yet again to brand yourself with a new group of people and wonder if you have the energy for it. If TrustPlus has its way you won’t need to rebuild your brand on another site. You’ll be able to bring it with you instantly.

The idea for TrustPlus was born out of the frustration of buyers and sellers who have created reputation on one site and want to take that reputation to all the places they buy and sell online.

You’ll be able to view reputations through the TrustPlus plugin or alternatively look someone up at the site. When rating someone you’ll have the option of who you want to share the rating with among your inner circle, family and friends, acquaintances, or the general public. You’ll also be able to share the type of interaction you had, leave a comment, or tag the rating.

The TrustPlus Reputation Engine connects people with their friends, their friends’ friends, and so on, creating direct and indirect connections between every person on the Web. Users create a TrustCircle of those they trust the most, forming personalized foundations for the TrustPlus Reputation Engine.

Sites that have already signed on include:

  • eBay
  • Craigslist
  • Backpage.com
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • MySpace

Mashable correctly points out that these reputations could end up being quite biased. Like most social voting systems TrustPlus is going to be open to spam as users try to up their reputation through any means if they think it will lead to more money in their pockets.

Mashable also points out that the service provides the most value to monetary transactions and dating sites, though I think the value can be easily extended should TrustPlus gain traction.

One thing web 2.0 has shown is that many of us like to vote. We vote on stories and images and we vote on people. TrustPlus aims to extend the people and reputation voting horizontally, across sites and communities, instead of only vertically within them.

Trust is important in all relationships, more so online when some usual measures of trust that come with face to face interactions aren’t present. TrustPlus may be one way to take the reputation you’ve earned in one community to another and it may help you build a larger reputation and brand by compiling the trust you earn on many sites in one central location.

Will you be building your TrustPlus scores in a year as part of your reputation management strategy? Will you have the plugin or make TrustPlus your first stop when debating if you should engage in some transaction? Hard to say, but the idea seems like a good one. It comes across as a logical next step in social interaction online, but it remains to be seen how well the implementation will work and how many people will adopt it.

In the words of chief executive Shawn Broderick in the AP story

“I won’t claim we have everything sorted out, because we don’t,” Broderick said. “We’re learning as we go.”

Social Media Extension

Along somewhat related lines 97th Floor has released a Firefox extension that will allow you to build stronger profiles across social media sites. The social media extension lets you see where a story has been submitted and where it hasn’t so you can be the first to submit it.

If a story is going popular on Digg there’s a good chance it will go popular on del.icio.us. By submitting a story that makes the front page of a social site you build your profile and help future content you submit go popular as well.

Alternately you can use the extension to keep track of the success of lack of success of your own content across socially driven sites.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

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