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On the Semantics of The Reputation Index

Trust is the building block of any peer-to-peer relationship. The emergence of a universal online reputation index will be instrumental in the growth of collaborative consumption. 

The excellent piece “Aggregation Not Algorithms Is The Key To Establishing Trust Online” by @kusti raises a key debate. 

The Internet is winner-take-all: this debate almost reminds us of FBConnect vs. OpenID in the online identity war of 2009.

It’s not about aggregation vs. algorithms, it’s about aggregation within the algorithm of choice.

It’s not about transparency, it’s about whose algorithm is dominating.

It’s not about the risk of gaming an algorithm, it’s about the ability of the keeper of the index to be constantly engineering the algorithm while everyone is trying to game it.

It’s all about PeopleRank.

Does the general public argue about the semantics of credit scores? They actually follow suit and work to better their scores as it impacts their financial well-being. Their “social score” will impact their online reputation and allow them to participate in the sharing economy.

When it comes down to building an index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is a good example. It’s a price-weighted average index of the 30 largest publicly traded companies in the United States. The reputation index that will win it all, is the one that will be able to select the most relevant types of actions in the social web, and weigh them in a secret algorithm reflecting their relative importance.

That’s serious big data engineering, and this exercise cannot be done in a collaborative way by multiple players: one dedicated startup, whose core business is to build that complex algorithm will dominate the space. 

Blog entry by @karimguessous



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