Sharing Is Great, And It’s Safe Too. Right?

Safety in the Sharing Economy

It’s no secret that sharing is becoming more and more popular, and people are sharing things that we’d never dreamed about. You can share cars, rides, bicycles, apartment, even your toilet!

But the question that constantly pops up time and again when I speak to friends, family and pretty much anyone who is willing to listen to me about our business, is, “Is it safe?” That’s a fair question, isn’t it? I mean, we’re walking into strangers’ apartments to get fed a meal, trusting people to perform important tasks for us, sleeping on someone’s couch (said person who I’d only met 5 minutes prior).

The answer is, yes, I truly believe it is, and here’s why.

The last few decades has seen the invent of what is commonly known as a digital identity. Based on our online behaviour (what we click, how long we spend a certain page, our purchasing decisions, etc.) companies like Google, Facebook and others know more about us than our cousins we have lunch with every Sunday afternoon. This collection of individual activity builds our digital DNA, and because the data is so comprehensive, every user is completely different.

Another fascinating result of this is the idea and importance of reputation. There are services that allow people to build their online reputation so that when it comes to meeting someone or contacting a seller, the other party can feel more at ease knowing that the person on the other end is verifiable and can most likely be trusted.

The other factor that is driving online trust within communities is online reviews. When my wife travel and we want to stay in an Airbnb apartment, the thing that we  look at first in someone’s profile is their reviews. The more reviews, the better an understanding we get of who we will be staying with. And it works the other way as well. As a host, how do I know the people staying with me can be trusted? It is becoming an industry standard that guests (or whatever the other side of the market are called) are also subject to review. This means that as guests, we always try to leave the place clean and in the way we found it when we arrived.

So when it comes to storing your stuff with people down the road you’ve never met, the chances are you’ll feel even more safe than when going the traditional root.

What experiences have you had? How would you make sharing more safe?

(Photo credit: http://picjumbo.com/)

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