I’ve been a member of TrustCloud for two weeks now, logging in just about every day to distribute my daily allotment of endorsements to friends and watch my own “trust score” inch towards the maximum possible 1000 points (Woot! I just went from 746 to 747 today thanks to an endorsement – thanks Taran!) . I like TrustCloud and am inspired by it. I can see how it can be quite powerful as an alternative, “wisdom of the crowd” means for building reputation online. Nevertheless, there are some design flaws that I find rather painful. They will have to iron them out if they want the platform to go to scale.
Don’t make me think of you every day
Each user gets a daily budget of 3 “use it or lose it” TrustCloud points to give out to others. I don’t understand the rationale behind this stingy budget at all. It is so modest that when you get going endorsing your friends you immediately run out of points and are told to come back tomorrow.
I think it’s a bit much for a “utility service” to ask users to come back every day. It is never going to ever be the center of any user’s universe no matter how useful it is. Just wait until someone endorses me and send me a notification, or send me an update occasionally with a summary of how my reputation score is going up (or down). While you’re at it, you can send me progress updates on the development of the platform, new connection methods that are coming online, ask for feedback, etc.
Don’t make me shoot in the dark
I’ve been using TrustCloud to shoot in the dark by endorsing 3 friends a day for two weeks now and only very few people are reciprocating. As you can see in the screenshot, I haven’t earned a single “virtue badge” yet and I’m a very connected and well-loved (and humble) person! So I have pretty much given up on endorsing others unless they endorse me.
Am I spamming my friends?
There’s another reason for giving up too which I will come to next. TrustCloud makes it difficult for users to tell which of their friends are on TrustCloud already. You connect TrustCloud to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, eBay etc to build up your reputation score, but I guess your friends and contacts are supposed to come across your TrustCloud reputation not on TrustCloud.com but via the Trust Card you put on your blog and craigslist postings. This seems like a missed opportunity and I think makes TrustCloud less useful than it could be to enable users to help each other.
This brings me to my apology to Facebook friends I may have been spamming. Basically, you can’t tell which of your friends are on TrustCloud already unless you search names at random or are endorsed by someone else. I asked about this and, according to @trustcloud on twitter, “the people that are not yet on trustcloud you are indirectly inviting by endorsing them.” This seems to imply that I am basically Facebook spamming my friends over and over again through TrustCloud. If this is true, then I apologize and will stop endorsing people until this bug is ironed out.
So now I will just relax and just continue being a trustworthy, good person and let my trust badges come to me.