Trustmarks, objective-source ratings, and implied investments in advertising: Investigating online trust and the context-specific nature of internet signals

  • K. Damon Aiken
  • David M. Boush


The purpose of this study is to provide a preliminary investigation of the effectiveness of Internet marketers’ various attempts to develop consumer trust through Web signals. The work is an exploration of the context-specific nature of trust in e-commerce. An online experiment compares three potential signals of trust in an Internet retail firm: (1) a third-party certification (i.e., a “trustmark”), (2) an objective-source rating (i.e., a review from Consumer Reports magazine), and (3) an implication of investment in advertising (i.e., a television advertisement to air during the Super Bowl). The trustmark had the greatest effect on perceived trustworthiness, influencing respondents’ beliefs about security and privacy, general beliefs about firm trustworthiness, and willingness to provide personal information. The relationship between Internet experience and trust was in the form of an inverted U.


trust signaling Internet marketing 


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Damon Aiken
    • 1
  • David M. Boush
    • 2
  1. 1.Eastern Washington UniversityUSA
  2. 2.University of OregonUSA

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