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So I'm setting up a website for my university exclusively. People will create tasks that they want done and then other people can do these tasks for some money. I've worked out everything except what to do if people don't pay and vice versa. Is there anyway to maybe social engineer the site so users feel more obligated to payout/do the work they promised to do. Since, they are all from the same (smallish) university I reckon most people will be fine but I'm concerned about people occasionally abusing the trust that the site relies on.

I played with the idea of using a ranking system but I assume that this will plant the notation of mistrust in the users head and make them less likely to engage with the site.

Any ideas of what to do?


Since these a tasks, I figured paying up front would be a bad idea since the task giver might want to retract their task, in which case it would be too late.

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    Think about what other similar sites do like eLance or oDesk. The money is usually paid upfront and held in trust until the work is completed. The person wants the money but only the task giver can OK their job.
    – Pdxd
    Aug 15 '14 at 18:21
  • Reputation systems. This being said this type of site is usually the antithesis of UX: most unrealistic task execution environment ever where what matters is not the outcome of the task but its performance in a totally different setting. Aug 15 '14 at 18:26
  • Will the person posting and the person agreeing to work on it belong to the same small University. How many uses are we looking it.
    – ajayashish
    Aug 15 '14 at 18:34
  • @ajayashish Yes, you can only join if you have that university email address. There may eventually be a lot of users since its a town where there are mostly students but hardly any stable jobs. It isn't that small but you are bound to bump into eventually.
    – chris
    Aug 15 '14 at 18:36
  • I would not be unlikely to use a site because it had ranking?
    – paparazzo
    Aug 15 '14 at 21:17
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This became a popular comment so I'm including as an answer:

Think about what other similar sites do like eLance or oDesk. The money is usually paid upfront and held in trust until the work is completed. The person wants the money but only the task giver can OK their job.

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  • @chris You can provide a method to refund the money if needed. Or alternatively, you can ask the requestor to pay only when they find someone they want to use.
    – Pdxd
    Aug 15 '14 at 21:40
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    This sounds good. I like the idea of the money "leaving" the task makers account and held somewhere until they are ready to confirm the transaction since it intrinsically does nothing but make both users feel like they have committed to it. I have a couple problems with it though that probably can't be fixed: 1. I assume the task maker can put this money back in their account so it leaves the door open for people to say, "I didn't pay him because he didn't do a good job". 2. "Not all people will want to pay online: since these are small jobs I assume they'll want to use cash.
    – chris
    Aug 15 '14 at 21:52
  • On 1: fact is that digital tasks cannot be tracked in the real world. Provide a method of support for each case. On 2: Because it is for students, your site's primary purpose is to connect requestors with requestees. You can provide an option of terms of payment.
    – Pdxd
    Aug 15 '14 at 21:58
  • Yeah, I was considering different payment options. I just feel most will want to keep it off the books(online) because its easier and (for those who are paranoid) doesn't raise suspicion.
    – chris
    Aug 15 '14 at 22:00
  • You can find that out in your metrics! :)
    – Pdxd
    Aug 15 '14 at 22:02
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If it's a small university then I would like to create a profile with full personal data like profile pic, address, etc. (Let the info be attested/ verified online by a professor if needed, this might not help in payment but will drop the likelihood of cheating).

Give them a scale of rating like reputation or ranking both as Provider and Giver. I am not sure if you can include an ESCROW system but that will be the best which helps in saving both the party's interest.

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