We all value trust. It makes us buy from the corner store and buy online.

You know when trust is lost. Think of Howard Beale played by Peter Finch in the 1976 film Network. His famous line was to ask people to turn TV off, saying “I’m as mad as Hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore! “.

For many businesses it’s time for a change to benefit from growing confidence in the online world. Does your business have to do better online? Does your website need a makeover? Begin by asking – how do you win trust from your people, your customers and your suppliers.

Trust is a constant in sustaining capitalism. For example see Trust and Growth in the Online Environment, released in November 2005 by Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (www.dcita.gov.au).

In our firm we’ve acted for numerous Web ventures seeking to revolutionise the habits of people in their use of the web. This includes six areas of work noted below.


  • Company structuring factoring in tax considerations and the role of key players
  • Drafting online terms and conditions for dealings with customers and suppliers
  • Advising on finance raising law eg regarding financial services regulation such as for internet payment gateways for real-time credit card processing
  • Advising on online marketing law eg contract law to adjust screen layouts, spam law advice, and trade practices law to finalise website marketing text
  • Privacy statement preparation
  • Defining legal relationships to ensure a fair sharing of risks and rewards.

I’ve been tracking Web 2.0 developments intensively since mid-2005 and the internet since about 1993. The above practical work for clients escalates learning and keeps it real.

So what does it take to build trust online? Our above experience leads us to this framework, an online trust troika:

  • CONTENT appropriate website information architecture (this requires simplicity, which is hard to achieve), content and design as well as reliable communication with prospects, customers and users – these are collectively by far the most important requirements for building trust
  • SECURITY measures required given innovation in scams using spam, trojans, worms, spyware, phishing, botnets, zombies
  • LEGALS legal work to cover contracts, privacy, IP and other Website-specific legal topics, eg use of legally appropriate terminology.

Today, artful and smart use of digital media draws people online and creates familiarity and appreciation.

People now select products and services more and more from their own interrogation of a screen and the associated information – if it is there. It’s that information and the trust troika that you have to get right.

Once the online visitors to your site feel good about you and your offering, then your business too will achieve one of the most vital things for success online – trust.

Noric Dilanchian