Larry Friedberg: The Trust and "Safety Dance" eBay Origin Story
This Week's Guest:
Larry Friedberg is the Principal at 380West, a strategic marketing and sales consultancy focused on high tech, e-commerce services and consumer packaged goods companies—both startup and established. Prior to launching his consulting practice, Larry served as Chief Marketing Officer at Modria, the leading SaaS provider of online dispute resolution (ODR) for business and government agencies. Before joining Modria, Larry was the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at French Transit, Ltd., and prior to that served as Director of Trust at eBay and Head of Trust and Safety Marketing at PayPal.
He teamed with Colin Rule, the world’s leading expert in ODR, to launch online dispute resolution systems for both eBay (2005) and PayPal (2006) which processed 60mm disputes per year—90% of which were resolved through automation. Larry also established the company’s first ever Trust & Safety Community Watch program, which helped reduce online fraud in the Collectibles category.
Larry earned an AB in English from Kenyon College and his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1993. Larry is also a certified mediator. You can find him on Twitter, here.
About This Episode:
It's hard to believe, but the internet didn't always have teams of people and algorithms to keep us safe. As Vinton Cerf, one of the creators of internet protocols, put it: “We didn’t focus on how you could wreck this system intentionally.” In the early days of working at eBay, there was a strong belief, supported by our CEO Meg Whitman, that if we didn't figure out how to keep people safe on the internet, that the entire premise of online business could die. We banned Nazi paraphernalia and all kinds of things that are now freely sold on the internet, out of a strong sense that we had to set an example for the future of internet commerce.
I think about this a lot in the context of Facebook. The entire premise of social media is now threatened by the revelations of Cambridge Analytica, and Facebook's Trust and Safety group's decisions appear to be very different from those we made at eBay.
So I asked Larry to join me and talk through this, to help you understand what good Trust and Safety looks like, to hear more about the unsung heroes of the internet, and to ask ourselves, "What might Facebook learn from eBay? What might have been different had Facebook learned from the past?"
TRUST AND SAFETY ARTICLES LARRY HAS WRITTEN OR RECOMMENDED:
The Surprising Thing About Trust, by Seth Godin
BOOKS LARRY RECOMMENDS:
The New Handshake, by Colin Rule (our former colleague)
MELINDA'S SUGGESTED TRUST AND SAFETY ARTICLES
Fast Company, 2013: "How eBay Fights Fraud"
Pew Internet, 2017: "The state of online trust in the next decade"