eBay was growing in the early days of 1996 (when I started selling). People would come to the site and buy from others on trust. Trust that was displayed in the seller's description, trust that was built on transactions and feedback. People from across the country would send money to absolute strangers and merchandise would be shipped.
Tens of thousands of sellers became "Trust Agents" (thank you Chris Brogan); making a living and building real business through trust and reliability. I put my daughter (see below) through college on my eBay earnings; and I didn't do it by just giving advice. I sold stuff.
eBay's feedback system has been building reputations for honest, trustworthy people who really make money on the internet. A brilliant idea from Pierre Omidyar, eBay's founder. Click here to see his original statement on trust and community from 1995.
Ask any experienced eBay seller how to be successful with social marketing. They know how to do it - they don't just talk about it. Ask my friend John (@ColderICE) Lawson; he's got over 75,000 feedbacks on eBay. That's one heck of a community.
I wrote my first book on eBay in 1999. Today my books are in seven languages and I've sold over a million. People take my advice because I do it; I'm honest and I give solid information. That's one heck of a community based on trust.
We've been doing Social Media since 1996. I have over 6800 feedbacks on eBay. I'm successful and so are they. Ask a long time eBay seller how.
(Yes, That's my daughter @SusanDickman helping ship items when she was in college)
(A Tweet from Pierre Omidyar, Founder of eBay about this post - Thank you)