The Role of Soft Information in Trust Building: Evidence from Online Social Lending

  • Stefanie Pötzsch
  • Rainer Böhme
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6101)


We analyze empirical data of Germany’s largest online social lending platform to exemplarily study the contribution of unstructured, ambiguous, or unverified information to trust building in online communities. After controlling for the influence of hard information, we find that textual statements that appeal to social behavior actually affect trust building. However, the evidence is less clear for voluntarily disclosed personal data. Lenders generally seem to give more weight to hard information so that disclosing personal data promises little benefit while potentially exposing borrowers to privacy risks.


Trust Building Soft Information Online Social Lending Social Behavior Reciprocity Personal Data Privacy Empirical Study Content Analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefanie Pötzsch
    • 1
  • Rainer Böhme
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceTechnische Universität DresdenGermany
  2. 2.International Computer Science InstituteBerkeley

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