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This article was published on March 19, 2013

Facebook picks up team behind online reputation startup Legit in talent acquisition deal

Facebook picks up team behind online reputation startup Legit in talent acquisition deal

Facebook is adding the two founders of Legit, a startup that runs an online reputation system, to its team after the young company announced that it had been ‘aquihired’ by the Menlo Park-based social network. Not price for the deal — which was quietly announced last week — has been disclosed.

Bay Area-based Legit’s service pulls in details from across the Web to assess an Internet users’ trustworthiness, and is specifically designed for social marketplace services where people want to know that the person they are buying services from won’t rip them off. First known as Quantifi, then Cred, and now Legit, the service aims to provide a gauge of reliability for services such as Airbnb, Lyft.

As well as two names, Legit has been through a series of pivots during its short life. The startup switched from its initial consumer-first approach, to product a widget for marketplaces but, following issues convincing third parties to adopt the widget, it settled on a cross-platform reputation system.

A notice on Legit’s homepage — first spotted by TechCrunch — explains that it has been bought by Facebook, and it also outlines what services that the company provided following its two pivots:

When we began working on Legit, our goal was to build a company that could help us answer the question, “Can I trust this person who I have never met?”

We dug in to build a cross-platform reputation system, the LRG. This system would be purely backend-focused at first, and as it scaled, we believed this system could then interface with the user via a marketplace. Our learning here was that data sharing does not make sense with the current scale of the sharing economy. We evaluated data from several partners and learned that the communities of most sharing companies are not large enough to warrant a piece of infrastructure like the LRG.

The Legit service is being closed down, as is the case with talent acquisitions such as this deal, but the two founders’ skills in helping build trust barometers for the Web are an interesting addition for Facebook. The social network is the backbone for a number of services already, and any features that can help services like Airbnb and Lyft users assess their users with greater detail and reliability will be beneficial for Facebook and help establish it as a reliable founding platform for other services.

“Facebook is a core piece of infrastructure for many marketplaces as the source of your offline authenticity and reliability. While we will be working on other initiatives within Facebook, we remain huge advocates of the Sharing Economy / Collaborative Consumption and are confident the movement will continue to grow,” Legit founders JB and Rob added.

Headline image via laughingsquid / Flickr