No matter how educated, experienced, wealthy, or smart you think you are, even the best of us have fallen victim to con games. It's not a matter of if you'll get swindled out of money at some point in your life, it's really just a matter of time. Hopefully it won't be a lot of money, and hopefully you'll become wiser without too much pain.
The internet has only made the creation, running, and maintenance of large scale, distributed con games easier with the mass communication tools we all have available to us for free. The popularity of CraigsList and eBay, among others, has made it clear just how prevalent these schemes have become in relation to the selling or goods and services on the internet. The fact is, con games, and con men, aren't going anywhere.
So, how does FeelGoodTrader plan on dealing with this?
The reality is that people will, given time, try to run scams using FeelGoodTrader. It's inevitable, and accepting that fact goes a long way to not being "surprised" when it happens. If we were surprised that someone was trying to run scams on the service we might not be prepared to deal with them.
So here's what we believe. No matter how big we get, we want you to feel that you know, and can trust the people around you, the same way you would know who to trust in your various social circles. Think of FeelGoodTrader as a way to get recommendations, find cool stuff, and to participate in a community of people that want the same.
When a spammer/scammer rears their ugly head, we'll provide tools for you to deal with it, both as a community and a community member, in the same way that a group of neighbors could band together to address a problem in their neighborhood. When the community has power to keep the riff-raff out, then reliance on super-duper computer algorithms isn't nearly as important.
So what responsibility does FeelGoodTrader take in dealing with spam/scams?
We're members of the community as well, and we use FeelGoodTrader to find cool stuff the same way you do. When we find someone in our circle of trusted users that we don't feelisn't trustworthy, we have the same power to remove that person from our trusted circle as you do. There's no need to send us an email and hope that we'll respond or do something about it - the power will be in your hands, and in the hands of the community of people you choose to be connected with.
So, this means three things:
- We take responsibility to research, and build tools for the community to use in order to deal with problem members
- We will do everything we can to educate the community on how best to use those tools, and rely on the community to help spread that knowledge
- We will have open conversations about how these tools are working, we will be honest about flaws in the tools, and we'll involve the community in helping to improve them for everyone
So what power/tools will I have at my disposal?
FeelGoodTrader is a system that is built on trust and social networks. At the most fundamental level, it works like this:
You mark someone as "trusted". This person becomes a member of your "trusted" circle of contacts. Over time you will build up a network of these people. Then, that social network works as a filter to keep out the scams, and provide recommendations for who is trustworthy in the community.
So what happens if you run into someone that you don't trust? Simple. Mark them as "not trusted". Not only will that person not be able to buy/sell to you anymore, your feedback is spread to your community of trust people, as a recommendation to avoid that person.
In addition to that, FeelGoodTrader will build additional, back-end systems that help to identify activity on the service that is suspect, and we'll release it to everyone. We believe to our core that a strong community is the best way to deal with spam and scams. That means we want people to take their role as a community member seriously, and when they see a problem they will not only say something, but do something to help everyone have a better experience.
On beta launch day (October 1st) we'll reveal more about how the trust and social network aspects work, and how, as a community, we can pull together to make FeelGoodTrader a great place for everyone. Stay tuned.