Looking at the tools for online reputation in my last post, I stumbled upon an interesting concept which praises for online reputation market control: Legit
[Update March 2017: Legit no longer exists]
The idea is to build a regulation body, Legit of course, where all marketplaces can share online reputation from their users. Bad users may be banned in all marketplaces, based on this exchange of profiles info.
Although this could be effective as a process to ensure we have no people behaving improperly in one market place and being able to start from scratch in another one, I have some concerns:
- I do not like regulations when dealing with the Internet. As always, this can be used badly by those that have the control. Legit states that they only will provide big incident reports, so up to the marketplaces to decide action to take.
- You create a blacklist of users based on input from several marketplaces, but nobody can prevent a troll or a fraudster from creating a new email address and starting with a new clean identity.
- What triggers being blacklisted? there can be some uncertainty in the way each marketplace is considering wrong behavior. There will be need for a standard in transactions behavior, given that it covers different types of services or products exchange.
- Great impact on privacy. You are forcing users to disclaim their behavior across markets.
Legit is providing a summary dashboard with their own score based on the data provided by the markets. Since they have been working on this for more than a year, I am sure they have thought about all the challenges that their system will have.
What is the alternative?
Well, to continue with the current setup but with a reputation dashboard (covering all your markets presence but with details on every marketplace) that users can disclaim at their own will.
That is: self-regulation.
Users will continue rating and evaluating transactions in their markets. When someone starts in a market either you can see his reputation from other markets -if he shares the dashboard- or you will not have any information about him. That’s his choice, and of course will impact the willingness of other users to interact with him. But yet this is the same issue in a market control environment when someone is new.
What would be good from Legit ideas is to include a sort of incident indicator in the dashboard (facing the challenge of a proper definition for this across marketplaces).
I think the need of a dashboard to break the marketplaces walls is there, and people are responding to this need by imagining different ways to solve it.
Good thing from Legit is that they will provide a standard API so that all markets can provide and retrieve reputation info. This is a better approach than the current setup of other tools that try to use the API of the marketplace, if any. That’s why we do not see many trust or reputation scores that include transaction marketplaces (i.e. Airbnb, TaskRabbit, …), just because the need of their own API is not here for the marketplace.
Bad thing is only linked to the way it is implemented. If marketplaces force users to be in this system this will not be good for the Internet in general. It’s the usual deal between privacy and control -when control is considered to imply more safety-.