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What if your email address could demand respect?

Trust - what are all the big guns missing?

When one thinks of the concept of Trust, the image that appears is usually personal. I trust my father, I trust my friend, I trust my co-worker, or I trust my accountant. How quickly does your level of trust diminish when it's separated by some number of degrees of separation? For example, would you trust your co-worker's accountant with the same level of trust as your own accountant, or would you trust your friend's friend as much as you trust your own friend?

The point is; Trust is, and should be, personal. Usually, trust is a byproduct of a respectful relationship. When someone, or some individual (or company,) respects your personal desires or space, it leads you to trust them more in the future. Depending on how long you've had a relationship, a bump in "the road of trust" could result in anything from terminating the relationship - to a downgrade of trust in which they would be allowed to prove themselves worthy of an upgrade in the future.

Well, the whiz kids trying to fix the (email and VoIP) personal interruption problem (better known as Spam and SPIT) have come up with the idea that your trust can be purchased. In other words, I pay company X so they can now send you anything I please because you're supposed to trust them. Now, you're probably thinking; "who is "them?" And you're right. Is them company X or the company sending you the information? Who are you trusting? I don't know about you, but for me the bottom line is this - I don't want to trust in someone (or some thing) just because someone else says I should, especially when my good faith is being bartered.

If, and when I trust someone, it's because I personally had a previously positive, respectful experience. But, if we always rely on previous personal experiences, we would never step into new experiences. So, what happens when there is no previous experience to hinge our faith on? What do we look for to calm our nerves? For me, I look for a sign of good faith. If it's a product I'm purchasing, I insist on a solid Guarantee (pretty common place I would say.) Or, if I'm dealing with a large construction project (where I want to be certain the contractor will deliver what they proposed,) I ask the contractor to put up a cash bond payable to me should they not be able to perform as promised. (A cash bond is just another phrase for a cash guarantee to ensure the contractor will deliver and in the timeframe promised. Usually the bond is large enough to cover the cost of a new contractor (including materials) to perform the entire task.) 

In my eyes, these are "signs of good faith" and they allow me to feel comfortable with the relationship. The trust, I may or may not have some level of comfort with their ability to perform, however, they must also have the confidence in themselves to prove to me they respect our relationship. In fact, it is essential they respect it enough to allow me to hold them accountable - that says more than any words or third party voucher. In my view, anyone not willing to put themselves on the line (either at the business level or at the personal level) has little confidence in the value of what they have to offer. So, what are all the big guns on this email trust mission missing? Trust should be person-to-person! If I say I trust you, then I trust you. If I don't know you, then prove to "me" with some sign of faith that I should have confidence you're not going to abuse my space. How first-rate would electronic communications be (email, VoIP, Pop-ups, streaming media ads, etc, etc, etc) if person-to-person trust were guaranteed? How would consumers react if they were given this level of respect? Would they let down their guard, would they reveal more, would they ask for more? The world may soon know these answers.

Frank Urro
Advocate for P2P Internet Respect