There are currently very few practical methods for assessing the quality of resources or the reliability of other entities in the online environment. This makes it difficult to make decisions about which resources can be relied upon and which entities it is safe to interact with. Trust and reputation systems are aimed at solving this problem by enabling service consumers to reliably assess the quality of services and the reliability of entities before they decide to use a particular service or to interact with or depend on a given entity. Such systems should also allow serious service providers and online players to correctly represent the reliability of themselves and the quality of their services. In the case of reputation systems, the basic idea is to let parties rate each other, for example after the completion of a transaction, and use the aggregated ratings about a given party to derive its reputation score. In the case of trust systems, the basic idea is to analyse and combine paths and networks of trust relationships in order to derive measures of trustworthiness of specific nodes. Reputation scores and trust measures can assist other parties in deciding whether or not to transact with a given party in the future, and whether it is safe to depend on a given resource or entity. This represents an incentive for good behaviour and for offering reliable resources, which thereby tends to have a positive effect on the quality of online markets and communities. This chapter describes the background, current status and future trend of online trust and reputation systems.
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