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(Dave from PC Pitstop brought up more objections)

Bad companies will just give themselves "good" ratings, and then we're back to square one.

Of course anyone is welcome to make a page giving any sort of reports they want. But it won't do them any good unless someone decides to use (i.e. trust) those pages. Which brings us to the next objection:

Some idiot friend-of-a-friend of mine might get conned into trusting some terrible company, and then I'll have bad trust data.

It's true, there are a lot of sell-outs and idiots out there. But remember, their bad trust decision affects not only you, but everyone else connected to them. (Possibly thousands of others.) All that is needed is for one of these other people to have a little sense and give a bad report to (distrust) the idiot, and then the problem is cleared. (See Keeping your network clean.)

People won't want to give out trust data.

Consider the fact that LiveJournal has 1.6 million people actively keeping blogs. That's just one company. And what are these people writing about? What music and movies they like. Products that suck. Software they love. Political views. The bottom line is that people love to tell others who and what they trust, and the internet has proven time and again that people will express themselves in any medium they find.

But isn't this private information people are giving out?

Even in the current implementation of Outfoxed, there is no requirement that any identifying information be given out. It is possible to create a page on a random server with a random filename and fill it with trust information. And this information isn't useless, because you can then give this address to your friends and thus give them your trust information. And their friends can benefit from your information too, even if they have no idea who you are.

The internet is a huge place. You can't expect people to have a local database containing reports on everything!

To an extent this is true: You can't expect every internet user to have reports on everything out there. But in reality, you don't need reports on everything. People tend to have similar interests as their friends -- that's one reason friends are trusted! So if you love collecting license plates, and some of your friends do too, then you can expect to have a lot of useful reports about websites and programs relating to your hobby. But someone might object further...

But that's still a lot of information! A user's network of friends will grow exponentially with each hop.

Here you need to run some numbers: If each person in a trust network introduces 10 new informers (which is probably too high), then with 3 hops the network is at 10,000 people. If each person gives 100 reports, that's a million reports total. If every report contians 1000 characters (also high), then our grand total is just one gigabyte. Now consider that all those desktop search applications, which are so trendy these days, can search your 100 gigabyte hard drive in a few seconds. So you can see that the data and processing requirements are a lot, but not excessive.