Trust is an issue

January 30, 2012

I read about a handy little app in a computer magazine the other day. So I went to the website, where I watched a video of what it does.

I wanted to find out more about the company behind it, so I went to the About section (which told me NOTHING about the history of the company or the people behind it) and then I went to the Contact section expecting to see a street or postal address at least, perhaps a map, definitely one or more phone numbers for sales, support etc. All these things are the ‘trust’ cues I use to decide whether or not the company is legitimate and whether I can trust them with my details and my money.

But I got nothing except misspelled link text (highlighted in yellow in the screen shot below) and links that only went to generic email addresses. I decided not to download/buy this app as the lack of ‘trust’ cues meant that I felt uneasy about trusting them with my information.

If they’re a 15-year-old operating out of the family basement — and if they tell me that (i.e. give me the backstory) — then I’d be more likely to trust them than giving me nothing on their About/Contact pages.

How about you? Do you check out a company’s About/Contact page before trusting them with your details/money?


  1. I certainly would not make the trust decision based on their site alone. I would use the net to find out who else trusts them or distrusts them. Good people may be sloppy, and sophisticated thieves may be slick, but it is harder to manufacture a reputation. Trust has gone social. It is less and less about presentation and more and more about reputation. (Which is why, by the bye, technical writers who sneer at community content for not meeting their presentation standards may be missing the point. In community content reputation beats presentation every time.)

  2. All valid points, Mark.

    As it happened, I wrote this blog post about a week ago. I did some more investigation into the company and the product, and after figuring it was reputable based on a lack of bad press (social and official), I downloaded the app to my phone. So far I’m impressed with how easy the app is to use, the lack of ads, etc. so my ‘trust’ for this company has increased.

    However, on first glance the lack of information about the company, the misspellings, etc., meant that my trust meter went on alert — leading me to do more research.

    BTW, the app is Aldiko (http://www.aldiko.com/), an eBook reader for Android phones.


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