Roger Clarke's Web-Site

© Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd,  1995-2024
Photo of Roger Clarke

Roger Clarke's 'Trust in Cyberspace'

Trust in Cyberspace: What eCommerce Doesn't Get

Roger Clarke

Principal, Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra

Visiting Fellow, Department of Computer Science, Australian National University

Presented at the U.N.S.W. Continuing Legal Education Seminar on 'Cyberspace Regulation: eCommerce and Content', Friday 25 May 2001, Grace Hotel, Sydney

Abstract of 18 May 2001

© Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 2001

This document is at

The accompanying PowerPoint slide set is at

Cyberspace being what it is, marketers are only going to achieve sales if their quarry trusts them. But e-marketers don't get trusted; and hence they don't get much business. The frightening thing is that, after nearly seven years, e-marketers still don't get it in another sense entirely: as a class of people, they simply haven't understood that the world has changed!

This presentation goes back to the beginning, and explains why eCommerce will stay stalled, and dot.coms will continue to deserve to go bust. But it also offers some solutions, in case anyone out there is actually listening.

The presentation begins with the facts of markets, both the general principles of marketplaces that apply in cyberspace too, together with the particular facts of life peculiar to marketspaces. That enables the risks in marketspaces to be examined. The somewhat different settings of business-to-business (B2B) and business-'to'-consumer (B2C) are each considered.

Trust in economic contexts is shown to be not quite the same as trust within families, among friends, and in social communities. Trust in people that you do business with is merely what you have to depend on when no other form of risk amelioration strategy is available.

In the B2C sector, the behaviour of e-marketers to date, instead of inculcating trust, has actually been doing the opposite. Their actions are described, and depicted as being fundamentally 'anti-trust' in nature. Some guidelines are provided the consumer rights, privacy, and the scope for consumer anonymity and pseudonymity, which are all genuinely constructive, 'ante-trust' measures.

xamaxsmall.gif missing
The content and infrastructure for these community service pages are provided by Roger Clarke through his consultancy company, Xamax.

From the site's beginnings in August 1994 until February 2009, the infrastructure was provided by the Australian National University. During that time, the site accumulated close to 30 million hits. It passed 65 million in early 2021.

Sponsored by the Gallery, Bunhybee Grasslands, the extended Clarke Family, Knights of the Spatchcock and their drummer
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd
ACN: 002 360 456
78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 6916

Created: 10 May 2001 - Last Amended: 18 May 2001 by Roger Clarke - Site Last Verified: 15 February 2009
This document is at
Mail to Webmaster   -    © Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 1995-2022   -    Privacy Policy