Does Doing Business Online Require More Trust?


I recently contracted a designer to redesign my websites and take care of some of the more technical aspects of site management that I just don’t care to figure out. It was a big decision, but it was time. After doing some research I settled on a designer I found online. My husband, who works 100% offline, was a little shocked that I would, with the click of a few on-screen buttons, transfer a substantial sum to a virtual stranger’s PayPal account.

Isn’t that a little risky?

I suppose it is. I guess someone could have gone to the trouble to create several websites, run ads, and spend a half hour on the phone with me only to make off with my deposit. However, I’d be taking just as big a risk if I’d met someone down at the local coffee shop and procured their services that way? No risk, no return. 

But I’d even go so far as to say in some cases it’s less risky doing business with someone you only know online. The Internet is making the world smaller. Word gets around fast online. Treat someone unfairly or fail to deliver and your name will be quickly circulated. Just like in a small town. 

It’s really interesting to me how we’re becoming more and more comfortable doing business across the virtual landscape, avatars substituting for face to face familiarity and texts taking the place of the handshake.

I’m still not ready to buy a diamond online, but I don’t trust those guys in person either. 

What do you think – does doing business online require more or less trust than doing business the old fashioned way?

Image Credit: striatic, Flickr

  • Drea

    Lela, I think it does require more trust. You have to be willing to put your precious project in the person’s hands, then hope that they work with you the way you want them to. Good communication mitigates the risk a little bit, but I still think it’s more risky than doing it in person. I had a bad experience with a designer who I met online; in the end, we decided the best thing was to end our relationship–and I had to have someone else fix the site. After that, I feel more reluctant to do business purely online. I try to at least find people who are locally based, so that I can meet them in person if necessary. Good luck with everything! -Drea

  • Jesse

    Does the deposit come with the American Express return guaranty?