Listen to “Trust on the Internet” – and Watch “Adversaries to Allies”

The one-hour one hour Voice America radio episode Trust on the Internet is now available. Originally broadcast Wednesday March 27 as part of the Trust Across America series, it features Connect.Me and Respect Network co-founders Drummond Reed and Marc ColuccioXin Chung, CEO of TrustCloud, and James Varga, CEO of miiCard. Starting with an explanation of the Respect Network and the Respect Trust Framework, the show goes on to explain how Connect.Me, TrustCloud, and miiCard are all providing new services that enable individuals to carry portable, verifiable identity and reputation credentials across different sites, breaking out of the traditional “silos” of trust (eBay ratings, Amazon reviews, etc.) and enabling collaborative consumption and the sharing economy.

The show was hosted by Nadine Hack, CEO of beCause Global Consulting, who has her own expertise in building trust: she recently gave a talk called Adversaries to Allies at TEDx PlainPalais. Highlighting her work with Nelson Mandela and other key figures in industry and politics, she explains what it really takes to build bridges of trust. We are proud to have her as a Respect Network Trust Anchor.

March 27 Voice America Broadcast: Trust on the Internet

[UPDATE: The broadcast is now available online - see the post above.]

This coming Wednesday March 27 (9am PST, 12noon EST, 4pm GMT, 5pm CET), Connect.Me and Respect Network co-founders Drummond Reed and Marc Coluccio will join Respect Network Founding Partners Xin Chung of TrustCloud and James Varga of miiCard as guests of Connect.Me Trust Anchor Nadine Hack on a one hour Voice America online broadcast called Trust on the Internet. You can listen to it live or any time after the program at this link.

Nadine, who is CEO of beCause Global Consulting and Executive-in-Residence Emerita at IMD Business School, is one of the top 100 thought leaders in trustworthy business behavior. She has worked for decades on how to create and maintain engaged relationships to improve productivity and profitability, and has developed a framework Strategic Relational Engagement (read more here or watch here). Most recently Nadine gave a talk called Adversaries to Allies at TEDx PlainPalais.

On this program Nadine and her guests will focus on the work that Respect Network, Connect.Me, TrustCloud, and miiCard have been leading to build a more trusted Internet. They will discuss the Respect Trust Framework, the legal foundation of the Respect Network published by the Open Identity Exchange, and explain different aspects of peer-to-peer online trust infrastructure implemented by Connect.Me, TrustCloud, and miiCard, all of whom are Founding Partners in the Respect Network.

Please join us for what should be a fascinating in-depth discussion of this vital topic.

Verify Your Identity on your Connect.Me Card with miiCard

Today we are announcing a new feature on Connect.Me – verified identity, powered by miiCard. Any Connect.Me user who falls within the coverage of miiCard’s bank-grade identity verification service can now connect their miiCard account to their Connect.Me card to prove ‘they are who they say they are.’

This is another step towards building the Respect Network, a global network of trusted people and communities based on the principles of the Respect Trust Framework. miiCard is one of the first 20 companies to become a Respect Network Founding Partner, and the first one to integrate their service with Connect.Me.

Gary Rowe, Respect Network CEO, explains: ”We are excited about this integration with miiCard because it shows how a Connect.Me Internet reputation can be extended to show multiple levels of verification and social proof. By leveraging bank-grade identity verification, miiCard will help individuals unlock greater value from their personal data and relationships.”

Adds miiCard CEO James Varga, “Online reputation is critical to how we meet, interact and transact online. By adding the capability for Connect.Me users to strongly and continuously verify their identity, miiCard raises both the value and the currency of a user’s reputation.”

Why verify your Connect.Me card with miiCard?

This video sums up quickly the value of adding miiCard verification: you establish establish a higher level of trust & credibility on Connect.Me and beyond by proving you have a verified identity to the level of a passport or driver’s license.

This is especially valuable for Connect.Me Trust Anchors and those who seek to earn Trust Anchor status as it provides further evidence of their trustworthiness. However, miiCard verification is not for everyone:

  1. Since miiCard identity verification is based on verifying your online banking credentials, it only available within specific countries and with banks within those countries that support miiCard’s verification technology. Currently miiCard is able to verify approximately 300 million users across nine countries and five continents.
  2. Obtaining miiCard identity verification requires sharing your online banking credentials with miiCard. This process is very similar to that used by Mint.com and other online financial services, but not everyone is comfortable sharing these credentials online.

For more information, please see the special Connect.Me page on the miiCard website: https://connect.me/about/miicard.

 

Trust Anchors: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

The Fifteenth semi-annual Internet Identity Workshop in Mountain View just concluded, and both Connect.Me and Respect Network were there in force (15 of the 20 Respect Network Founding Partners attended).

We showed the new Connect.Me interface and social business card features and started working on the first Founding Partner integration efforts (stay tuned for more on that in November). But the most fascinating discussions revolved around the unique role of Trust Anchors.

Trust Anchors are the highest of the four trust levels defined by the Respect Trust Framework upon which Connect.Me is based. To become a Trust Anchor, three other Trust Anchors must give you a special Trust Anchor vouch. And that vouch has a very specific meaning: I know you personally well enough to recommend you as a Trust Anchor and believe you will abide by the Respect Principles.

As usage of the new Connect.Me ramps up, we have seen an influx of new Trust Anchors — so many so that we started sending out an email to them explaining the Respect Principles and asking them to confirm they understood the responsibility they were undertaking.

The result was a fantastic dialog among the new Trust Anchors and many of the existing Trust Anchors. First, almost to a person the new Trust Anchors are thrilled that Connect.Me and the Respect Network are serious about building an Internet scale trust network rooted on people. Second, they agree with us that the only way the quality of the network can be protected is with human oversight and moderation — just like on Wikipedia. And third, they are very enthusiastic about stepping up to the job.

But they also raised several fascinating questions. The one that triggered the most discussion was: how much does the trust in a Connect.Me Trust Anchor extend beyond the bounds of the Respect Network? In other words, if you are Trust Anchor on Connect.Me, does this mean you should be expected to behave honestly and ethically on other networks like Facebook, Twitter, Empire Avenue, TrustCloud, etc.? Or in other online activity? Or offline activity, e.g., your professional or personal life?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. But there is an answer that we’d like to propose:

“Yes.”

In other words, it would be a tremendous result if the meaning of being a Trust Anchor for the Respect Network meant that there was an increased expectation that you could be trusted to act honestly and ethically in all walks of life.

Of course there is no way to enforce this, nor would we want to try. But we would like encourage all Trust Anchors to aspire to this ideal. And to help do that, over the past 18 months we have nominated a set of individuals whose words and deeds embody the spirit of the Respect Trust Framework. We call them the Distinguished Trust Anchors. We invite you to review this group of 41 individuals and help us nominate others who deserve this distinction.

Rachel Botsman’s TED Talk: “The Currency of the New Economy is Trust”

Rachel Botsman is at it again. Last month we blogged about her Wired UK article called Welcome to the New Reputation Economy. Now she has a new TED talk and, like the last one (called The Case for Collaborative Consumption), it is a highly engaging and well-constructed argument that the currency of the new sharing economy will be trust, and trust decisions will be based on contextual reputation. As Rachel puts it:

“When we get it right, reputation capital creates a massive positive disruption in who has power, influence and trust. Reputation data will make the resume seem like an archaic relic of the past.”

If you want to understand why Connect.Me is building a p2p trust network based on socially-verified, contextual reputation — and anchored by trusted individuals all around the world — look no further than Rachel’s TED talk. And next she’s writing a book on the topic. (We can hardly wait to find out what she thinks about the Respect Network.)

Connect.Me and Social Media Missions

With Connect.Me invitation links now active, users are starting to invite others via their Connect.Me cards. For new users in particular, one popular way to this is by posting a mission on Empire Avenue (EAV) or similar sites. But Connect.Me is a reputation network, not a social network. So the rules are different. Here’s what is and is not acceptable in a mission involving Connect.Me:

Acceptable

  • Sharing a Connect.Me social business card to promote your online presence and capabilities
  • Inviting people in your network to join Connect.Me via the invitation link on your Connect.Me card
  • Inviting people who know you (personally, professionally, online or offline) to vouch honestly for you

Not Acceptable

  • Offering to trade vouches with others who vouch for you
  • Buying or bartering vouches
  • Promoting or suggesting anything other than honest vouching by people who genuinely know and respect you and your work

The problem is that some heavy EAV users are so used to powerful social media game dynamics that they don’t realize the importance of the honest vouching requirements of the Respect Trust Framework. (This is also why we enforce vouch limits, in particular a new limit of 5 vouches per card, so it further highlights the value of a vouch.)

The good news is that Connect.Me users who have earned the highest trust level — called Trust Anchors – are now helping spread the word on EAV and other sites about what is different about social vouching and why honest vouching is so important. We thank those Trust Anchors for helping to build a strong and vibrant trust network for all of us.

If you see a social media mission that is not compatible with honest vouching, please point the author at this post (the short link is http://bit.ly/VadaXG), or refer them to a Trust Anchor for more information (or if necessary contact us at complaints — at — connect — dot — me).

Connect.Me – The Bigger Picture

Connect.Me  will be launching its public beta. Connect.Me enables people to consolidate their identity, social presence, and peer reputation into a social business card. Your social business card shows who you know and what you are trusted for. It makes you discoverable for your interests and expertise and is the first step in building the largest directory of respected people on the social web.

Connect.Me is the world’s first P2P reputation and discovery network that works across Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.  As people build their reputation, they can use it to curate the social web by vouching for the people, content and businesses they trust.

Until the public beta is launched, you can only create an account by going through a special invitation link, such as the public card of any Connect.Me Trust Anchor.  Trust Anchors will be sharing their social business cards within their networks this week.

Connect.Me is not just a new app, it’s the beginning of a larger movement to put people back in control of the web.

The team behind Connect.Me, along with a coalition of partners, are pioneering a new business model where people connect directly to businesses on their terms. While this concept seems simple, it is a radical shift away from the current business models where users’ data is collected and sold without their direct participation. This new model, in development since 2005, was created by a group of 11 well-known architects in Internet identity, privacy, trust, and relationship management. It will provide people a way to get the full value of their reputation and intention by allowing them to directly share it with businesses in a new trusted  way.

It has taken more than two years to develop the legal and technical infrastructure to make the Respect Network, the network behind Connect.Me, possible. When users join Connect.Me, they are conceptually joining the larger Respect Network. Any data entered into Connect.Me is under the full control of the users and will soon be portable within the network.

For more information, visit Connect.Me and the Respect Network site.

Last Step Before the Public Launch: Invitation Links

The Connect.Me community is building the largest directory of respected people on the social web. Today we are introducing Connect.Me invitation links for Trust Anchors. This is the final step before the launch of the public beta.

Connect.Me Trust Anchors now have an invitation link on their public Connect.Me card which:

  • Lets new users into Connect.Me before the launch
  • Earns the Trust Anchor recognition within the system

You can see it in bright yellow in the upper right-hand corner of the page for your public card – connect.me/[username]

So now your visitors can start using Connect.Me immediately — and start vouching for you immediately.

Enjoy! (And if you blog about this, please include a link back to this Connect.Me blog entry so others can find it easily.)

 

Forbes article: Trust on the Internet – Connect.Me and Respect Network is the solution

Forbes.com columnist Kosta Peric, the head of Innotribe innovation division of SWIFT, pubished an article today called Trust on the Internet: The Solution is Ahead. It starts:

There is a need for a user-centric identity, privacy and trust on the internet, to power the digital economy. It’s a major issue, and a solution that relies on crowd-sourcing is being proposed by Respect Network.

It goes on to highlight some key challenges ahead for trust on the Internet, namely the lack of a good measure of trust, and that our reputations are not owned by us nor portable across the Web. He then explains the critical new role of trust frameworks:

Trust on the internet is the focus of OIX  (Open Identity Exchange),  a non-profit company organization founded by Google, Paypal, AT&T and others. Their business is to establish, standardise and manage “trust frameworks” – legal, business and social rules that enables parties unknown to each other to trust their respective digital identities. The trust frameworks are designed to be public, standardised and inter-operable, so that people and companies can play various roles in the framework and still manage trusted relationships.

Of the OIX listed trust frameworks, Kosta’s focus is the unique design of the Respect Trust Framework:

The idea of this framework is to not only establish a digital identity, but also to provide individuals control over ownership and sharing of their data on the internet. The key to the framework is the use of a crowd-sourced, peer-to-peer reputation system.

Kosta goes on to highlight that this p2p reputation system has already been implemented:

Respect Network also establishes a crowd-sourced peer-to-peer reputation system, implemented through a service called Connect.me (Connect.me is in private beta now and will be launched soon. You can request access on the connect.me website).

Kosta, we thank you for your ideals and your support. It is the vision and dedication of individuals such as yourself that will help unlock the true potential of the Internet. As your article explains:

The peer-to-peer reputation network establishes naturally a chain of trust. The chains begin with a number of known people, called Founding Trust Anchors, who provide credibility.

In fact, the Respect Trust Framework has a special distinction for Founding Trust Anchors who are nominated by their peers because they “exemplify the spirit and principles of the Respect Trust Network”.  They are called Distinguished Trust Anchors, and we are very honored that Kosta is one of them.

 

Rachel Botsman: “Your reputation is your most valuable asset”

“By the end of the decade, a good online reputation could be the most valuable currency in your possession.”

Thanks, Rachel, for this great Wired magazine article about the emerging reputation economy. We agree with you about how important personal and business reputation is becoming to unlocking an entirely new layer of value on the Web. As the social web becomes more noisy, crowded, and gamed by attention seekers, it become steadily harder to discover and connect with people and businesses you trust. Verifiable reputation is how to cut through that clutter.

Not all reputation systems are cut from the same cloth, however. Rachel’s article asserts:

When asked for the sources upon which a user’s trustworthiness is based, reputation startups list the usual suspects — LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter — but refuse to go further, saying that the algorithm is proprietary. For these trust-validation services to become credible they’re going to need to differentiate their products from those offered by companies such as PeerIndex, Kred and Klout, which collect digital information from different social-media sources.

Rachel, we invite you to look much more closely at Connect.Me and the social business card. It displays vouches from other Connect.Me users that are not based on any proprietary algorithm. They are direct statements of respect from your peers in the context represented by a specific tag.

 Since all vouches are public, they are transparent and accountable — just click on any tag on a social business card to see who has vouched on that tag, and how many vouches that person has in that same context.

We believe this is what a sustainable, scalable p2p trust network looks like.