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Trust is an essential ingredient in our daily activities. The fact that these activities are increasingly carried out using the large number of available services on the Internet makes it necessary to understand how users perceive trust in the online environment. A wide body of literature concerning trust perception and ways to model it already exists. A trust perception model generally lists a set of factors influencing a person trusting another person, a computer, or a website. Different models define different set of factors, but a single unifying model, applicable to multiple scenarios in different settings, is still missing. Moreover, there are no conclusions on the importance each factor has on trust perception. In this paper, we review the existing literature and provide a general trust perception model, which is able to measure the trustworthiness of a website. Such a model takes into account a comprehensive set of trust factors, ranking them based on their importance, and can be easily adapted to different application domains. A user study has been used to determine the importance, or weight, of each factor. The results of the study show evidence that such weight differs from one application domain (e.g. e-banking or e-health) to another. We also demonstrate that the weight of certain factors is related to the users knowledge in the IT Security field. This paper constitutes a first step towards the ability to measure the trustworthiness of a website, helping developers to create more trustworthy websites, and users to make their trust decisions when using on-line services.
Date of Conference: 8-8 Sept. 2011