Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Trust and Reptuation on eBay

Dr. Lyn M. Van Swol.

This paper examines how the problem of building social cooperation and trust for consumer-to-consumer internet transactions has been approached in the on-line auction eBay through its feedback system. The relationship between vulnerability, trust, and concern for reputation with eBay’s feedback system was examined for buyers and sellers. Buyers were hypothesized to be more concerned about trust and other users’ reputations because of buyers having greater perceived vulnerability to fraud. Buyers and sellers were emailed and asked to participate in an on-line survey. Results found that trust and reputation were highly important issues for all users, but especially buyers. Buyers were also more concerned about situations that would reduce the use of the on-line feedback system or make it harder to know sellers’ reputations. Participants also thought that trust was a more important issue for on-line auctions than for on-line retailers. Results are discussed in light of research on trust and reputation.


Dr. Lyn M. Van Swol  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Communication Studies
Northwestern University

Lyn Van Swol is an assistant professor of communication studies at Northwestern University. She received her PhD in social psychology at University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana in 1998. Her work has been published in Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Communication Research, and Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.

  • Trust
  • Reputation
  • Cooperation
  • Risk
  • Internet commerce
  • Auctions

(Virtual Presentation, English)