7. Website Credibility through Name Recognition and Reputation – 14.1%

One strategy for evaluating credibility seemed to be relying on the name recognition or reputation of the site operator. People talked about issues of reputation and name recognition. One frequent comment had to do with one’s never having heard about an organization before. This hurt the credibility of the site. In other cases, people saw a familiar company name and inferred the site was credible because of that. Below are the sample comments coded in this category:

  • This site is less credible because the name is unfamiliar. — F, 22, Maryland
  • It seems to me that credibility is all about the name and having heard about it. — M, 25, Michigan
  • CNN is well recognized in the US as a provider of news. Their reputation is not something they would put at risk with unfounded claims or under-researched articles. — M, 24, Illinois
  • The Mayo Clinic has a great reputation. I would trust the info I found at this Website. — M, 34, Connecticut

The comments made clear that a site may be perceived as trustworthy if a user has dealt successfully with the site previously, knows someone who has, knows of the site’s large following, has heard good things about the site, or at least has heard of the brand name (sometimes via the site’s real-world counterpart).

The reputation of brick-and-mortar organizations appeared generally to carry over to those organizations’ Websites, although the relationship between this tendency and a site’s identity information would make for interesting further investigation.

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