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Americans Don’t Trust Info on the ’Net

Posted on 7.22.2012

Not only are Americans unforgiving when it comes to faulty websites on the ’Net, but a new study reveals that they also don’t hand out their trust very easily either.

The Mancx survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive, found that almost every online American adult (98%) finds reasons to distrust the information that they discover while surfing the Web.

So where is all of this distrust stemming from? According to the study, 59 percent of Americans don’t trust information on the Internet because there are too many ads, while 56 percent of respondents' lack of trust stems from outdated information that appears during Web searches. Additionally, 53 percent find online information too self-promotional and 45 percent don’t trust the information that they find in unfamiliar forums.

But in addition to a lack of trust, the survey also shows that 94 percent of American adults who look for information online are concerned that “bad things” could happen to them as a result of acting on inaccurate online information. Those bad consequences include wasting time – which 67 percent of survey respondents are concerned about, followed by 63 percent of respondents being worried about getting a computer virus and 51 percent who are apprehensive about losing money or risking online fraud. Other concerns include damaged credibility (36%), getting fired (14%) and the loss of a spouse or a relationship (9%).

These numbers make it no surprise that most of the survey respondents think that their online experiences could be improved upon, especially in regards to trust. In fact, nearly 3 in 5 respondents say that it would be an improvement if the answers they found while conducting a search could be trusted, and 54 percent say it would be an improvement if search result answers always came from trusted sources. Additionally, 53 percent of online searchers claim they would like their search answers to always be up-to-date, while 32 percent would like to waste less time searching (to whom I ask, wouldn’t we all?).

“These findings demonstrate that people want online information to be more credible than it is today, and that current web services just don’t cut it,” says Mattias Guilotte, Mancx CMO and Co-founder. “Mancx offers a solution by giving people a new way to find the answers they need by matching questions with a trusted source, and allows them to exchange answers and money in a trusted environment.”

It is also important to note that Web businesses, especially retailers, can establish trust with their audience by displaying trust signals on their sites, such as those from companies like VeriSign, TRUSTe and eTrust. Learn more about these and other security providers here.

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