Why Trust is Essential for Collaborative Consumption Platforms
BY: XIN CHUNG
The sharing economy is talking about trust, and we like where the conversation is going. Recently collaborative consumption thought leader, Rachel Botsman, has done a great job identifying the need for a unified trust system within the sharing economy at her TED Global talk about trust and collaborative consumption.
If we take the all-inclusive term “collaborative consumption,” and you break it down into subcategories, it’s easier to understand specifically how trust is essential within different segments of the sharing economy. At the core of the movement are three main categories:
#CarSharing: Car sharing is arguable the most widely adopted and successful category of collaborative consumption thus far. ZipCar, WhipCar, RelayRides and Getaround are all leading the way in the industry.
In the U.S., a whopping 14 million people got rid of their cars in 2009. While ZipCar is a company owned fleet that people share, the other three companies are peer-to-peer sites. People sign up to lend out their cars when they aren’t using them, and others pay a small fee to use them.
Car sharing also has some great subcategories. We love ParkatmyHouse and ParkingPanda, for helping us share another often pricey and frustrating aspect of driving –parking. And sites like Ridepost, which offer ride sharing -aka bringing sexy back to the good old fashioned car pool! For more numbers and details on car sharing this infographic is a must see.
Why trust is essential in #carsharing: From full on collision to mucking up your interior, there are plenty of ways someone can damage your beloved automobile. You’ll want to know that the person you share your car with doesn’t suffer from fierce road rage before you hand over your keys.
#RoomSharing: From CouchSurfing, to Homeaway, to 9flats to poster child AirBnB, people are really embracing room sharing. It offers a way to have more genuine travel experiences while saving some money. If you have some space you want to share, it can be a great way to make some friends and make some money. But letting someone into your home is not a decision to take lightly.
Why trust is essential in #roomsharing: AirBnB, for example, is the business to emulate in the sharing industry. But last year they we’re scrambling to maintain their stellar reputation after two high-profile instances of vandalism and theft. But the reality is, AirBnB has had 10 million bookings to date, and only few serious incidents. It’s a testament to the AirBnB community that they were able to have a clean record for as long as they did. But it is idealistic rather than realistic to think that you could offer a service where relative strangers stay in each other’s homes and not have some issues eventually.
Trust is a fragile thing. AirBnB has taken serious steps to successfully repair the trust that this incident destroyed. They certainly took all the right steps in the aftermath to up their safety protocol and $1 million host gurantee for loss or damage, but in hindsight, I’m sure they would agree they should have been more proactive in preventing incidents like this.
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