Craig Newmark in 2010: “Distributed trust is the next big thing on the web”

  • Interviewed (posted March 18, 2010) by Matthew Ingram at, who wrote: “Newmark called some form of distributed trust system “the killingest of killer app”. for the web over the next decade (he said he wasn’t sure that was the best way to describe it, but was trying out to see how it sounded). He talked about “reputation and trust ruling the web, just the way it does in real life,” and how he was looking to big players such as Google, Facebook and Amazon as the kinds of entities that would have the scale to handle such a distributed trust or reputation management network.”

Remarks of Craig Newmark as transcribed from the Ingram video

Q: What do you think the next big killer ap for the web is?

  • NEWMARK: The big deal, online will be distributed trust. Just like in real life we rely on who we trust whether it’s for a dry-cleaner recommendation or a book recommendation or who to vote for how to run the country. And the idea is that we see the beginning right now already of trust mechanisms say on Amazon or Facebook or whatever and I think this decade and probably very soon we’re going to see the evolution of distributed trust mechanisms which work with each other say from Google, Amazon, Facebook and I really think they need to work with each other, I think they need to be available to all. The deal is we need systems which will be really, really hard to game, which are open to all which allow us to stand up for each other in terms of how much we trust them for whatever purpose and I think the opportunities here are large because so much depends on who we trust. The economic opportunity here might be huge. But you know maybe this is the type of thing that the big sites, the big trustworthy sites, should give away because I think this is really important not only for them and for Internet afficionados but for the whole species.

Q: And do you see government having a role in that?

  • NEWMARK: I think governnment at the very least will have to provide some balance here. Because we need some checks and balances. As many as possible because so much will depend on this in terms of our daily lives, again in terms of personal recommendations for a camera to buy, from who to vote (for) to actual voting, to buying a new house or getting a loan. Trust is the new black and I’m guess I’m saying here trust and distributed reputation, that’s the biggest killer app of all.