A credit check for online honesty

Iâ''ve sold a few things on craigslist, but not a lot. Instead, I use a much smaller, private, local mail list, even though I canâ''t always find a buyer there, because it makes me a little nervous to deal with people that I donâ''t know, and that none of my friends know.

So Purewire Trust, a web security product from Purewire Inc., Atlanta, Ga., introduced at Demo 09 this week in Palm Springs, definitely got my attention. I wasnâ''t the only one, Demo 09 featured an audience comments stream, and the flow of comments sped up dramatically during the Purewire demo: â''best idea yetâ'' â''credit report for people.â''

Indeed, thatâ''s exactly what Purewire is offering: to check people, as well as places and things on the web, and see if they are legitimate. It will eventually include reviews, much in way Amazon marketplace and eBay use reviews to rate sellers, but it doesnâ''t rely on reviews, instead, it analyzes all sorts of web data associated with a personâ''s name or email address to determine if they are a real person who doesnâ''t do bad things online. The service is currently free, at www.purewire.com. Itâ''s brand new today, so I wasnâ''t completely surprised that it didnâ''t find me yet, I havenâ''t done a lot of online transactions. It did find Spectrumâ''s web site, and, Iâ''m happy to say, trusts us.

If this application turns out to be reliable and effective, it wonâ''t only make people using craigs list more comfortable; company cofounder Paul Judge envisions the service being used by potential internet dates and future employersâ''a possibility that might make people think twice about not completing an eBay transaction as promised.

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