TrustPlus Out to Build Its Rep with eBay Data

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small group of companies certified as eBay Solution Providers, meaning the company has access to—and is allowed by eBay to repurpose—data on individual eBay users, including their feedback scores.

Because they are the oldest, deepest, and most widely understood form of reputation data on the entire Web, eBay feedback scores are the gold bullion of the reputation world. Many previous reputation-aggregation efforts have attempted to exploit them, often by lifting the scores directly from the eBay website using automated screen-scraping software. But such efforts invariably run afoul of eBay itself, which jealously guards the data. Now that TrustPlus has legitimate access to the data through SageFire, TrustPlus members can opt to add their eBay scores to their TrustPlus profiles, allowing them to leverage the reputation they’ve built up on eBay anywhere on the Web—for example, when they’re selling something through a classified ad on Craigslist.

“We are the first reputation company, as far as any of us know, that has ever been able to get legal access to this sort of information from eBay, whether directly or through a partner,” says Broderick. “We’re very excited about that, and we think it’s a really good thing for everybody involved—for eBay, ourselves, and consumers.”

If eBay trusts SageFire and SageFire trusts TrustPlus, then I guess I can trust TrustPlus. You’ll have to decide whether to trust me on that.

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Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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