There has been a lot of opinions about opinity in the blogosphere in the last week.
Quoting Bill Washburn @ Opinity –
The way we think about it at Opinity, individuals would also be completely welcome to put together multiple reputation profiles of themselves for different contexts, say one for ecommerce, one for professional purposes, one for political or dating or community forum purposes. An eBay rating could be shown in a profile or not as any particular person might deem wise for their purposes. The most important thing is that elements of a reputation profile can be made portable, aggregated, authenticated, and thereby be more useful and worthy of some degree of trust (depending on how broad, deep, and verified the profile is) everywhere on the â€˜net.
Thatâ€™s more like it! I reckon these guys could be on to something big, if only they can figure out how to make plenty of dough from all this – their idea sounds exactly the same as mine, but the problem Iâ€™ve had up to this point is justifying it from a business perspective. You canâ€™t really charge users, so youâ€™d have to charge site owners/developers for any applications that hooked into the system. So maybe you have a new auction site and you donâ€™t want to build a whole new reputation system, along with the high switching costs for your users – pay us and weâ€™ll do the hard work for you.
Despite what P-Air says, thereâ€™s really no chicken and egg problem if you aggregate and categorize existing feedback systems (you wonâ€™t start off with a zero score if you can import your current eBay score from the start). But hereâ€™s the question: how could someone make this work – and would it even be worth the effort?
What is a product like this going to buy me as a citizen of web? I can see their idea of a central repository of user reputation (something similar to Credit Reporting company). But all the big sites have their own repository and why would they want to share that. So, their basic approach would be to get the smaller websites to get to use this service. Now that is a big issue because why would most of these websites want to purchase a service they do not need. As soon as the customer pays via credit card, these people do not care about the reputation of the customer. So unless this system can help them
Lets take the model from customer point of view. Most people would like to get tangible benifits out of this before they would be ready to aggregate their identity information in one place. This could be in form of discount in online stores. In addition to that the reputation needs to be integrated with a identity engine that can build a central repository of their profile (which will include their blogs, comments on other websites for products, etc) across the web which can then be converted into his reputation (because without the “identity” you will not know who are the people talking about since there could be really large number of “John Doe” out there).
May be I am thinking too far into the future. At the moment, it could be more like something that gamers and others involved in online activities (like chat ) would use to aggregate and share their information out of box.
I had a look at the Opinity service. This service allows a user to create a reputation. This seems basically to mean that a user can create reviews for people. Interesting, I would like to see a more distributed MicroContent solution for this.
A more interesting feature to me is the certification of identities. A user can submit identities (username+password) at the service. And Opinity will try to login. If it succeeds it has certified that identity. Something similar can be done with email addresses. In this way u user can prove that his various identities on various services belong to the same service.
I see such a certification service as a part of a personal profile.
Business week’s Rob Hof wrote about Mary’s assertions about the ‘unportability of reputations’. We are having lunch next week to talk about it 🙂