August 02, 2007

Online Trust in a Web 2.0 World

As more and more of the most popular websites depend on user-generated content, trust becomes an increasingly important commodity.  The success of a site like eBay depends on a system of community trust where buyers and sellers carry a reputation based on the feedback they have received from others in the community.  Such a system exists for other large sites as well, but the problem of how to extend such a system of trust to smaller sites is a difficult one. 

The anonymous nature of the Internet makes it hard to know exactly who IS trustworthy. Is this eBay user really selling this rare jazz record, or is it a hoax? Does this auto-care blogger actually know anything about cars?  A famous New Yorker cartoon in 1993 carried the caption "On the Internet, no one knows you are a dog." -- as the internet becomes ever more user-centered we will need to find better ways to deal with this problem.

Venyo, one of the websites we have integrated with, is attempting to tackle this problem. Their concept is that users carry a reliability index--a "Vindex"-- made up of ratings given by users on any website.  The magic of the Vindex is that they are offering a Trust platform which ties to the user, rather than to a specific website or community. 

A Vindex rating box instantly tell you how a user's reliability has been judged by the larger online community, giving you peace of mind when interacting with that person's online contributions. And by clicking someone's Vindex box, you have the opportunity to rate that person yourself, warning or encouraging other users about that person's reliability.

 To sign up for a account, click here. Once you've signed up, log into your myDataBus account and click the Profile tab. Scroll down to the Venyo login box and submit your Venyo user name and password. Your Venyo Vindex will be posted next to your name in myDataBus group lists and on the download pages of e-mailed myDataBus files. Your myDataBus contacts can then see your reliability rating and have the opportunity to rate you themselves.

myDataBus File Format Conversion? Easy!

Guess what? We've added another resource to your myDataBus-file-editing arsenal: we are now integrated with Zamzar is an online file conversion tool that lets you easily change your document, image, video, and music files into other file formats with a few clicks of your mouse. Change your .wav files into a mp3s. Make your .txt file a PDF file. Convert PDF files into editable Word documents. Convert your MS Paint stick-figure drawing of Aunt Bertha into a JPEG file and post it in your myDataBus family reunion photo album. Anything's possible. For a full list of file conversion types, click here.

With Zamzar integrated into myDataBus, you can convert your myDataBus files without needing to download them first. Just select "Convert with Zamzar" from a file's Options menu, then select your desired file format, enter your e-mail address, and hit Convert.

Once you receive Zamzar's notification e-mail, go to the download page and copy the link to your file by right-clicking (or Ctrl-clicking for Macs) the Download File button. Then go to your myDataBus account, click Upload Files > Webload, paste the file link into the URL box, and hit Upload. Your converted file will be sucked right back into myDataBus from Zamzar. No downloading required!

Why not give it a try? With myDataBus and Zamzar, we've given our users a whole new way to do more with their files online!