Website Credibility: Examples

Four Types of Web Credibility:
Fogg (2002) describes the four types of web credibility as follows: Firstly presumed credibility which is based on general assumptions and beliefs (p. 163). Next, earned credibility which is difficult to gain (p. 170) and is based on first hand experience that extends over time (p. 163). Thirdly, reputed credibility which is based on endorsement and third party recommendations (p. 165). Finally, surface credibility based on first impressions and appearances (p. 163).

Presumed: Australian Government –

The credibility of is based on assumption. The government cannot afford to intentionally mislead people so their website will generally provide accurate information. The Australian government does not operate for personal profit. The site has links to various opposing political parties within Australia and to information regarding the Australian political and legal systems.

Earned: Bpay –

Bpay has earned a reputation as a secure and reliable method of paying bills and transferring money. Bpay responds quickly to customer concerns and has a clear and transparent process for disputes. The site itself is simple and well organized and users are required to login to confirm credentials. Bpay also communicates information about any changes, purchases and fraud alerts to users.

Reputed: the New York Times –

The New York Times is probably one of the first news organisations that comes to mind as a credible source of news. The New York Times is an award-winning publication and other sites, such as, recommended it. When there have been instances of individual reporters acting without integrity, such as Jayson Blair, the New York Times acts openly and apologises for any infractions that occur.

Surface: Clever Starfish –

The design website Clever Starfish, is an example of surface web credibility. As expected from a design company, the website is well designed and visually appealing.  It has no outside advertisements and includes samples of their design work. On the surface, this looks like the website of a successful and professional digital design agency.


Fogg, B. J. (2002).  Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do [EBook library version]. Retrieved from

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