Reputation Services

The Internet is a fantastic environment for delivering communication, commerce, and content services.  It’s also an incredibly efficient way for users to access these services. 

But its also a place where a lot of bad stuff exits.  My Internet axis of evil list has viruses, spam, spyware, and phishing on it.  I can confidently predict that there will be other maladies joining that list.

So it’s the best and the worst.  And as a result of that, there is a new class of web services being built called reputation services.  Some of these have existed for years. eBay’s reputation ratings were a key component of the success of that platform.  Amazon’s rating system for reviewers is another excellent example.  But in many ways, these are web 1.0 implementations of the idea of a reputation service.  I think we’ll see a lot of innovation and development around this concept over the next five years.

Here is my list of things a reputation service needs to do:

1)      Identify things you can trust.  It’s not just about people, but people are an important subset.

2)      Identify things you can’t trust.

3)      Incorporate user feedback.

4)      Incorporate other data that is relevant.

5)      Allow users to set their own standards.  For example my idea of a bad review may be very different than yours.

6)      Provide for syndication.   I might want to take your reputation and make it my own and add more user feedback into it.

7)      Provide for extensibility.   I might want to take your reputation service and add my own layer of reputation service on top of it.

I’d be interested in hearing what you all think of this list and please let me know what I missed.

#VC & Technology