For the last several months I’ve been working on the marketing for a new startup website based here in Chicago. We’ve been keeping the site largely under wraps in the ramp-up period and through the soft-launch phase we invited select friends and acquaintances into. Now that we’ve worked many of the bugs out we’re ready to take the tarp off and publicly launch the site.

I present you with

The notion behind TrustedNation is this: What’s missing from the expanding world of online reviews, peer-to-peer marketplaces and other sites is trust. There’s no way to know whether the review of that restaurant is accurate because you don’t know the person who left it. You might feel nervous about driving to check out a couch someone is selling because you’re unsure who that person is and there have been too many horror stories about transactions gone bad.

In order to join TrustedNation you must be endorsed by a current member. So everyone myself and the others involved in launch invited were people we knew and trusted. Once they accepted the invitation I was asked if I wanted to endorse them, which I did. Only then did they have access to the site.

So what can you do on TrustedNation? There are a two basic categories most site actions fall into:

  • Buying/Selling: If you have something you’re selling, you can post details, including price, how long it’s available for and more. If you’re looking to buy something you can search the site for related items and then contact the seller to facilitate the transaction.
  • Offering Comments/Recommendations: If you’ve had a really good experience with a local handyman, if there’s a babysitter you trust and want to turn friends onto, if you’ve really been enjoying a nearby bar, you can share all that and more. Of course if you want to warn others away from something or offer a warning of some sort you can do that to.

For your convenience, you can narrow search results by location, price range and other details to find exactly what you’re looking for.

The difference here is that you can trust all the above because you can see those posts are coming from and how you’re connected to that person. Each post displays the network details, showing you know X, who knows Y, who knows me. There’s no more uncertainty about the motivations the person selling that guitar because he’s been endorsed by and vouched for by 15 people and is therefore trustworthy.

It’s pretty exciting to finally take the wraps off this. While I’ve certainly been involved in projects I’ve had to keep under my hat in the past, this is my first experience with a startup launch and it’s been challenging, informative and interesting.

If you’d like to find out more about TrustedNation, hit me up in the comments below. If you’re someone I know and trust, I’m happy to invite you to join or just offer more details about what myself and the rest of the team have been building.

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