Ed Gerck wrote:
In the essay "Better Than Free", Kevin Kelly debates which concepts hold
value online, and how to monetize those values. See
Kelly's point can be very useful: *When copies are free, you need to
sell things which can not be copied.*
The problem that I see and present to this list is when he discusses
qualities that can't be copied and considers "trust" as something that
cannot be copied.
Well, in the digital economy we had to learn how to copy trust and we
did. For example, SSL would not work if trust could not be copied.
How do we copy trust? By recognizing that because trust cannot be
communicated by self-assertions (*), trust cannot be copied by
To trust something, you need to receive information from sources OTHER
than the source you want to trust, and from as many other sources as
necessary according to the extent of the trust you want. With more trust
extent, you are more likely to need more independent sources of
To copy trust, all you do is copy the information from those channels in
a verifiable way and add that to the original channel information. We do
this all the time in scientific work: we provide our findings, we
provide the way to reproduce the findings, and we provide the published
references that anyone can verify.
To copy trust in the digital economy, we provide digital signatures
from one or more third-parties that most people will trust.
This is how SSL works. The site provides a digital certificate signed by
a CA that most browsers trust, providing an independent channel to
verify that the web address is correct -- in addition to what the
browser's location line says.
But doesn't that prove the point? The trust that you consequently place
in the web server because of the certificate _cannot_ be copied to
another webserver. That other webserver has to go out and buy its own
copy, with its own domain name it it.
"There is no limit to what a man can do or how far he can go if he
doesn't mind who gets the credit." - Robert Woodruff
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