Reputation Graph: One of the Web’s largest opportunities

4915106328_c9bc700cf3_mI recently replied to a Quora thread with the question of “What will come after social networking?”. My answer was the reputation graph. It ended up creating a fair amount of discussion including the question “What is the reputation graph?”. I listed my definition that the reputation graph is, in its simplest form, what people think of the people they know. Then for fun I Googled “reputation graph” because I was pretty sure that I had heard the term reputation graph from someone else but couldn’t find anyone talking about this in the same way that I’ve been understanding it. So I thought I’d take a few minutes to further flesh out what I mean.

In our everyday lives we make an extraordinary number of decisions about people. These range from who to hire for a specific job to who to let into a certain college. Billions of dollars are spent daily on making decisions about people and the costs of poor decisions are tremendous. And yet, the “science” through which we make these decisions is far from perfect. College admissions committees use GPA, SAT scores, applications and a whole host of other data to try to do the best job possible and yet everyone who attended a university can names scores of people who shouldn’t have been there. And anyone who has spent anytime inside a large company can think of numerous example of colleagues who have no business being in the organization. These situations arise from vastly imperfect data about the people who we are making decisions about.

Now let’s turn to another example: Senior “Superlatives” in High School. These were those questionnaires you probably filled out at some point during your Senior year that asked you to name the Class Clown, Best Dressed, etc. There is one in particular that fascinates: Most Likely to Succeed. I’ve never seen a study done but my guess is that if you took the average lifetime earnings of someone voted Most Likely to Succeed and compared this average to the lifetime earnings of their classmates you’d find the earning of the person voted Most Likely to Succeed to be dramatically higher (perhaps an order of magnitude higher) than the average of their classmates. What does this tell us? That even way back in high school we knew a lot about the people around us.

And that’s what’s at the heart of this opportunity, the fact that we have an insane amount of data in our heads about the people around us. When Quora launched, one of the things that Charlie and Adam said was this:

The way we think about this is there’s actually a lot of information that’s still in people’s heads that’s not on the internet. And when you think about it you would say that probably 90% of the information that people have is still in their heads, not on the internet.

I’d offer that’s it’s actually much higher than this. In fact it’s something I blogged about here and here a couple of years ago. And when it comes to Reputation Graph data (again, what we know about the people around us), it’s actually a much lower % of information that’s online. Certainly well less than 1% of what we know.

So here’s why I think this is important. Just as Google and others were able to make our ability to access information dramatically easier and open all sorts of opportunities for people, I feel like the companies that build the reputation graph will have an amazing opportunity to make the process of making decisions about people (again, something each of us do every single day) incredibly more efficient. Better fits for jobs, schools…heck, even who you date or pal around with on the weekends could make peoples’ lives dramatically better.

This is probably a long ways off. Or maybe not. If you’re working on the reputation graph I’d love to hear from you. :)

07. January 2011 by Jon
Categories: Disruption, Reputation Graph | 50 comments

  • http://crissonjnocharles.com Crisson

    I completely agree with your assessment. I first approached this idea from the perspective of a landlord looking for a more holistic set of criteria for vetting potential tenants, but the concept can be extrapolated far beyond that. The current proxies for types of reputation (e.g., credit score, eBay feedback, Amazon feedback, etc.) are limited in scope and I suspect not sufficiently sophisticated even in their domain. I'm really looking forward to start-ups exploring this concept.

    -Crisson

  • http://twitter.com/narkor Narkor

    Have you read “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom” by Cory Doctorow? – one of a few science fiction books that posits a future reputation based economy. Another one is Distraction by Bruce Sterling. Of course they move to a reputation based economy because the US economy tanks, but interesting exploration of the idea.

  • http://mathoda.com Ranjit Mathoda

    There is already a single social graph of “I've met and like that person” relationships in the world, which Facebook has done an excellent job of mirroring on its website. They were able to do this by solving the problem “how do I most efficiently keep up with my friends and acquaintances?” Historically the solution for the technically minded was an email listserv (often unread) and for the less technically minded frequent phone or social calls. Because most people find their friends entertaining, Facebook is a very sticky website.

    There is also a single social graph of “I'd follow that person” relationships in the world, which Twitter has done an excellent job of mirroring on its website. They were able to do this by making it easy to uni directionally attach yourself to a broadcast of messages, and by using very short messages to keep the content level up and noise down.

    While people certainly have reputations, the difficulty of establishing a web based reputation graph is that people tend to be interested in other's reputations briefly and in specific contexts.

    With respect to being briefly interested, a reputation is most important upon first meeting or when trying to solve a problem in a specific domain. If one's child is sick, the reputation of a doctor because significantly more important than before or after. That is not a necessary impediment to a valuable web business; Google after all only has your attention for a moment, but has made a fantastic business out of it. Historically this problem has been solved by asking friends, or gossip.

    With respect to being interested in specific contexts, many approaches have been tried. One approach is simply to create a website focused on one topic, like learning (khanacademy.org), selling (amazon.com), etc. To a significant extent Google is in the business of trying to find you the most reputable answer to a query. But there are a host of problems people confront where the answer has not been mapped by the web. Companies have tried to map this information by encouraging reciprocal statements about reputation (LinkedIn), looking at what types of questions people search for (Demand Media, Malhalo) or creating a forum that encourages asking and answering specific questions (Yahoo Answers, Quora).

    One of the issues with these approaches is that they only work when you already know what questions to ask. No current website can tell me what doctor is most likely to diagnose correctly a problem a child has. Partly because I as a user don't know what questions to ask of that doctor to test their knowledge. To a large extent we rely on brands and organizations to do this filtering for us (“Harvard MD, hmm, they must be good, right?”). That is not a very great solution. If those more complex kinds of problems could be solved by new technology it certainly would be very useful.

  • Ben

    Fascinating concept, hard to implement in reality. But doesn't mean it can't be done. One thought: there's not always a good incentive to be honest about what we really think about someone we know — especially if our sentiment is negative. Anonymized negative comments in public don't have enough credibility to take seriously, and there's often no incentive to publicly disclose a negative comment about a person's character, integrity, etc. with attribution.

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    Thanks Ben. I think we're *much* closer to being able to make significant progress on this then just a few years ago. Facebook Connect and LinkedIn's API (along with other data sources) offer huge untapped potential. The major question is what the proper incentive structure is. There has to be a compelling reason for people to share the data they have in their heads. Facebook (and others) have given people a compelling reason to share their social graph info (e.g., who they are friends with) with the world. And while it might seem a stretch for people to share their opinions about people in their graph, if the right incentives are in place and safeguards are enacted for privacy issues I think you could see it happen much sooner than most people would think.

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    Love this. Especially the last part about us relying on brands. I think brands are incredibly imperfect means to judge people. However, they're the best thing we currently have going which is why people pay increasingly large amounts of money to align themselves with top brands. But I think the relative monopoly that prestigious universities have over signaling is about to come to an end. There's just too much waste there right now and a “leaner” signaling mechanism just has too much potential for success.

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    Love this. Especially the last part about us relying on brands. I think brands are incredibly imperfect means to judge people. However, they're the best thing we currently have going which is why people pay increasingly large amounts of money to align themselves with top brands. But I think the relative monopoly that prestigious universities have over signaling is about to come to an end. There's just too much waste there right now and a “leaner” signaling mechanism just has too much potential for success.

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    You are the second person to recommend that book to me this week. It's on order from Amazon. :) Thanks for the other reco as well. Heading over to buy that one right now! :)

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    You are the second person to recommend that book to me this week. It's on order from Amazon. :) Thanks for the other reco as well. Heading over to buy that one right now! :)

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    I think it's *fascinating* to see what companies like Square are doing where they're relying on (largely explicit) social graph data to make decisions around credit. One of the areas where reputation graph data could be useful would be alternative credit scoring functions. In a way this was where companies who do P2P lending (e.g., Prosper) could go but they are, as I understand, not using reputation graph data. However, I think we all know people in our social graph who we'd have no problem lending money to and others who we'd never borrow a dollar to (at least not one that we'd ever want to see back!).

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    I think it's *fascinating* to see what companies like Square are doing where they're relying on (largely explicit) social graph data to make decisions around credit. One of the areas where reputation graph data could be useful would be alternative credit scoring functions. In a way this was where companies who do P2P lending (e.g., Prosper) could go but they are, as I understand, not using reputation graph data. However, I think we all know people in our social graph who we'd have no problem lending money to and others who we'd never borrow a dollar to (at least not one that we'd ever want to see back!).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Cooper/1243073036 Steve Cooper

    I see some parallels with what we once discussed about people getting college credits & certificates and degrees *automatically* based on everything they see, do, feel, touch, read, write, hear, discuss, etc. Exciting Times!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/petekazanjy Peter Kazanjy

    Well, this is one part of what we're trying to do at Honestly.com: allow people to be nuanced, candid, and…honest about what their experiences have been with others, and what they think about them. Not an easy problem, but one that we think is worth tackling.

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    I think a *huge* trend in edu is going to be continuous assessment. In other words, instead of taking tests you'll be continually assessed on what you know. This will obviate the need to take exams which I think will be a positive step for education. I also think things like Quora, Stack Exchange, etc. will end up becoming part of the educational landscape in some way although I don't have a lot of visibility into how that will play out.

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    Yeah Peter, I think you would be one of a handful of companies I could point directly to that is starting to build the reputation graph. I'm a big fan of what you are doing and while, as you mention, it's not an easy problem, it's well worth pursuing. LinkedIn Recommendations have never really been much help to people because they're overwhelmingly positive so I think there is a huge amount of potential for businesses like Honestly that provide a more “real” version of what people actually think about the people around them.

  • http://mathoda.com Ranjit Mathoda

    You can also read it for free online. It's quite interesting. http://craphound.com/down/?pag

  • http://twitter.com/frommww Ken Fromm

    Nice post, Jon. Like the term and believe you're spot on it's growing importance as well as picking it as an interesting area for business application. Using reputation as measure in a transaction is as old as “buyer beware” but modern day risk management has used it but in an indirect way with only partial data (credit scores, d&b ratings only use a mimimal amount of data).

    Yelp and reviews, Linkedin and recommendations, Social Web influence measures, and other Web 2.0 approaches are extending reputational scoring but in approximate ways. It certainly will be interesting how RICO scores permeate through Web 2.0/Web 3.0 (or however you might name a value from derived from reputation graphs).

  • http://www.brekiri.com/blog/ Greg4

    The overriding challenge to implementing a reputation graph is preventing people from gaming the system. The classic example is salespeople gaming their sales total to maximize compensation, often in ways their employers never foresaw or intended. The same thing happens with companies managing earnings by offering huge discounts at the end of the quarter, which ultimately has negative consequences for profitability. Online, PageRank is a great example of a number that's become important enough for people to game.

    This issue suggests that the reputation graph must be designed to be difficult to influence directly. Think credit score. In contrast, a system like LinkedIn's recommendations rapidly degenerates into quid pro quo in many cases.

  • http://www.johnwedgwood.com John Wedgwood

    Jon – Great post.

    Setting aside the prior comments on gaming the system, I think there's another problem in building this graph, and that is finding incentives for people to want to be part of it. There are clear positive incentives for me to be part of the “I know this person” social graph in Facebook, the “I want to know this person” graph in Twitter, and the “I worked with this person” graph in LinkedIn.

    I can't quite figure out how to create the same sort of positive incentives for a reputation graph. (This may be a failure of my imagination.) My suspicion is that we won't see any sort of reputation graph develop in the same way that social networks have developed, where people opt in. Instead I think we'll start to see “scores” (and similar reputation tools) that tap into other databases to produce reputation measures that can be applied to other existing graphs (currently Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn) rather than being self-generated.

    Again, a great post, and really thought provoking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1222306 Gagan Biyani

    Great post, Jon. Love your thoughts.

    Personally, I think there's no doubt that our reputation will become more and more available via the internet. Whether its Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Quora, its a lot easier than it ever was to find out about someone.

    That said, I'm not convinced a specific website or service is going to directly attack and then solve this problem. All of the aforementioned services were not designed to solve the “reputation graph” problem – yet they have made a significant dent in improving the graph.

    Basically, social networking was a huge problem that was actually solved by social networking. Facebook created a site that became enormous which brought your social life online and that's exactly what it was designed to do.

    However, I don't think the “reputation graph” problem is quite as big nor do I think the solution is as direct. Why would people spend hours and hours of their life on a site that focuses on improving reputations? They wouldn't – reputations in and of themselves float behind the scenes. You simply don't consciously think about your reputation on a daily basis, the same way you don't think about your speech patterns. As such, I don't think analyzing and criticizing the reputations of ourselves and others will ever become a core part of our daily lives. If the reputation graph can't become part of everyday lives, it won't be the next big thing in social.

    Imho, the next big thing in social will be about organizing your social graph around the social circles (or “groups”) your life is naturally organized in. See Path, Micromobs, FB Groups, Google+1, and many other examples.

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    Thanks Gagan. A couple of comments to add to your thoughts:

    #1 – I don't see reputation graph services as “improving reputation” so much as surfacing the information that we already have in our heads about the people around us. Just as blogging, Twitter, Quora, etc. have helped to surface (and make generally accessible) information about “what we know”, I think those building the reputation graph could help to surface the information about “who we know”. And not just in the flat, uniform connections of Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. but in a deeper, and hopefully more meaningful way.

    #2 – I *completely* agree that organizing graph around social circles is a big opp. I'm a big fan of Path and others who are doing this because I think we all have a lot of stuff we'd share in different contexts if it were easy enough to do so.

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    Hey John. Loved your comment. I completely agree about the incentive structure being a major challenge here (if not *the* major challenge). A lot of people realize (correctly so) that knowledge about other people and their relative abilities is actually a source of leverage and highly valuable (think about recruiters for instance who get paid large sums of money for what they know about people). At some point something would have to shift where people start realizing that by sharing that information it both helps out the people around them and helps them individually as well. I don't know that we're anywhere near that point right now.

    And you're right on the money when it comes to “scores”. We've had those for a long time in the world of credit (e.g., FICO) and now they're being developed in other areas as well (Klout being perhaps the best example). If you know of anyone else producing metrics along these lines I'd love to hear of them.

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    I have an interesting solution to the issue of gaming which is part of an overall thesis I'm developing here. The gist of it, without going into too much detail, is that you have to set up some sort of a “neutral playing field” whereby by any attempts to game are offset by largely equivalent penalties for gaming. If you can do that, I think you can largely avoid this problem.

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    Thanks for the comment Ken. I think what Square and a few other companies are doing here is really interesting. They've basically figured out that to the extent you can easily surface someone's identity online, they're much less likely to be a scammer than someone who you can't. Does this penalize people who like to keep a low profile online or people who have extremely common names (e.g., John Smith)? Perhaps, and that's something that needs to be figured out. But I do think that email address as identifier tied in the social networks offers a big opportunity for people to re-think how data-driven decisions around people are made.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1222306 Gagan Biyani

    I agree with both points. It's going to be interesting how our reputations continue to evolve on the internet. Even if I'm not convinced it will be a standalone service, I do agree its worth thinking about and striving for and I hope some solution out there continues to improve the visibility we have to others' reputations.

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  • Why I Hated Elementary School

    Sad times… It's a dangerous notion, with two fallacious assumptions underlying it:

    One is that (the majority of) those who reach negative conclusions – based on imperfect information or otherwise – reach those conclusions with rational, unbiased reasoning.

    Another is the assumption that the majority of people (in a given sample) have good intentions – which would imply that even if there were a few 'evil' outliers, the aggregate conclusion would be fair and unbiased.

    These are possibly derived from the model that business/services review sites such as Yelp are built upon – in this scenario, it is reasoned that despite the possibility a few rogue commenters, often competitors, will post unjustifiably negative comments, the majority of reviewers will be neutral towards the company being reviewed, leading to an aggregate picture that is representative of their actual performance. The 'he said, she said' effect is less of an issue here, because typically if trusted friends give someone a bad review offline, the person hearing the bad review will likely avoid the place altogether – meaning that the majority of comments will come from customers who's initial impression were either neutral (haven't heard anything about the place, so trying it out for the first time), or positively biased (e.g. based on a positive recommendation from a friend).

    In social relationships, this self regulation doesn't happen – for example: your friend tells you that a person is annoying, but you then end up having to work with that person. you cant avoid the interaction, but you will enter it with an already tainted first impression, which will likely cause you to behave differently towards them, escalating into a bad relationship (often without you even realising it).

    Consider bullying in schools. Typically, a larger/louder/more dominant child will pick on a more submissive/vulnerable child, and garner support for their cause either because their dominant personality affords them more popularity, or worse, because they instill fear into the other children. Fast forward 20-30 years, and you'll find this kind of behavior manifests itself in adults in exactly the same way – just replace attacking someone for lunch money with framing someone at work so that you fall into favor with the boss and get that coveted bonus.

    Currently, someone in that scenario can leave the company and try to start afresh in new circle. but imagine the potential impact if those negative opinions were written in stone and publicly available for all to see, especially if – as is common with all forms of bullying – this gained traction due to the popularity or dominance of the initial perpetrator.

    I'm sure there are plenty of cases of business being ruined due to negative comments online – many would argue this is fair since the company must have done something bad in the first place to generate mass negative reaction. every case has to taken within context and often, justifications and explanatory factors regarding negative comments are ignored completely.

    Extrapolate this to the social landscape and its easy to see how things could get out of control – small mistakes, misunderstandings, disagreements and irrational opinions would then have the escalated potential to damage relationships and even careers unnecessarily. Herding behavior and the desire to be part of a group are huge motivating factors, which lead people to take sides and compromise their moral values for the sake of acceptance or getting ahead. It's easy to spot when there is one negative review in a sea of positive ones, but when that one negative reviewer is very persuasive to the people around them and gains support, it becomes harder to distinguish.

    The examples given in the article have been mainly work related, but imagine if this was applied to a website where every girlfriend you'd ever had could write about (and exaggerate, or even lie about) your behavior, your habits, your cheating, hell – even the size of your appendage. (I'm sure many people would be all for a site where you can call out cheating exes! But on the other side, how many of you would squirm at this idea? I'm not saying there shouldn't be repercussions for peoples actions, but that these should be taken in context, proportional to the crime, and relative to how long ago those things occurred.)

    What if that guy you called 'fatty' way back in the 5th grade still held a grudge and wanted to make a very public revenge? What if that girl you cheated on when you were 17 and didn't know any better decided to resurface? What if you sucked at baseball and were unfortunate enough to be part of a team that ridiculed you and then told everyone you are 'not a team player'? What if you underperformed at a company that simply wasn't the right fit for you, and the boss decided to make sure that every potential company you ARE a good fit for doesn't want you either? What if your coworkers – for fear of being laid off by him – followed suit and backed up his opinion? What if someone influential just plain didn't like your taste in music/accent/race/build and wanted to terrorize you because of it? All of this, linked to your email accounts, with you having absolutely no control over it? Even if you did have the opportunity to respond and defend yourself against bad comments, who would believe you once the damage had been done?

    The implications could huge.

  • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

    Hey Jon. Good to have you back and to read about your ideas, always a pleasure :) .

    I came to somewhat the same conclusion when I was invited to write an opinion piece for the Fifth Conference last year. Called the concept the Knowledge Graph which should track all learning, informal and formal, over the lifetime of a person leading to the same benefits you describe like making career planning easier based on what you know and what you should know etc.

    In his latest interview for Forbes, Sal Khan also predicts that in 10 years from now employers will be far more interested in the data about how someone learned rather than just a score.

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    Hey Kirsten! Thanks for your comment. I actually like “learning graph” better than “knowledge graph”. Knowledge graph implies what you know but I think that's only a subset of the data. I feel like when you learned something, how long it took you, etc. is also relevant data and that new continuous assessment systems that are being built/will be built will be very good at giving the full picture here, not just a static snapshot of what you currently know (as today's tests do).

    I think if you combine a learning graph with a reputation graph you have something that could be extremely disruptive to the current system of education and credentialing (as I posted on your blog).

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    This comment, while appreciated, has a really gloomy tone to it. Sure, there are challenges here with building reputation graph. Sure, if data outliers mess with someone's future that's not a good thing (although I'd argue that in many ways it's not all that different from someone being harmed by an inappropriate picture on Facebook that was seen by a potential employer). And sure, if the system is easy to game then I agree that is has no value.

    But I think it's important to look on the flip side of this and take a more objective view here. Many of the decisions that are currently made about people are made based on data that often has many of the same problems you list in your comments. This happens on both sides of the fence. Someone gets a job because they happen to be buddy buddy with the right person even though they're completely incompetent. Someone else loses a job because of a malicious rumor spread about them that is completely untrue.

    My point here is that we already use the reputation graph to make decisions.

    The difference between my view and yours, as I understand it from your comment, is that I feel a more complete reputation graph will lead to better decisions while you feel it will lead to worse ones. Only time will tell here and I do think much of this will have to do with who builds the reputation graph at the end of the day and how it is built. Like anything with great power, it could be used for good or evil. My sincere example is that those individuals and companies use build the graph focus on using it for good.

  • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

    Yes, I started with learning graph, then switched to knowledge as I wanted to make clear that it is about knowledge in general including all the tiny things you learn on an informal level as well. For example watching the entire documentation on the Civil War twice as I did now in less than 12 months because there was a rerun on ArteTV. If I now could take a test on what I learned somewhere I am sure that I could earn some college credits.

    Watching documentaries can teach you a lot which you are not even aware of as it is kind of edutainment. So it is in my head somewhere but I cannot prove it. As I am watching documentaries and webcasts every day there must be a ton of hidden degrees in my head. Wouldn't it be awesome to log in to your learning graph and then see the connections? You saw and read this and that. If you add this course and that video and take the test you get a certification.

    Same with stuff like cooking, gardening, painting, …

    And in combination with the reputation graph it gets even bigger, as you suggest. I also thought about the social connections that would allow you to follow careers of your fellow students, see what turns they took based on the same education etc.

    Amazing opportunities :)

  • http://blog.nextblitz.com gzino

    Good stuff. I think reputation graph is THE key to next leap in signal to noise and like the neutral playing field concept as well. However generally think the gaming aspect should be less feared (but not ignored). Haven't done algorithm work in this field but have in others and my gut is a good NER model will hit 90% and we don't want to let 10% stand in the way of overall progress. Finally would add the concepts of granular and portable.

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    Always love hearing your thoughts Kirsten. Just to clarify, “knowledge graph” feels like fairly static (“what you know”) while “learning graph” feels more dynamic, especially if this encompasses not just what you know but when you learned it, how fast you learned it, etc. For example, think of two people: Sue and Kristy.

    Both “know” the same stuff about computer programming (have done roughly the same amount of work and performed roughly the same from an assessment point of view). However, Sue did her work 5 years ago while Kristy did her work in the last year and moved through material twice as fast as Sue. Who would you rather hire for your company to build your web service?

    This isn't to say that “knowledge graph” couldn't encompass more of the dynamic elements but I think words do matter and “knowledge” just feels more stagnant than “learning”, at least to me. :)

    Of course, I couldn't agree more with your last statement. Combination of “learning graph” (what, when and how fast you've learned) + “reputation graph” (what your social graph knows about you) is, simply put, radically disruptive to the entire education industry.

  • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

    How could I disagree with you? And you are the native speaker, so when you say learning graph has a better tone, I am with you.

    We should have a talk about this as I am talking to some education startups about implementing it in their products. Would be great to pick your brain :) .

  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    Sure. When's our next interview? :)

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  • http://azeemazhar.com/ azeemazhar

    Hi John,
    Really great thinking – and articulating some of the issues so well–we may have to claim them for ourselves!

    Yes – so PeerIndex is a 'reputation graph' company, looking to make our everyday lives easier by helping you figure out who you are dealing with.

    And our take is this – reputation and ratings facilitate markets. Without them, the process by which trust is built is a long, slow and costly one. When market participants trust one another (through the vehicle of a reputation system) many transactions that wouldn't happen do happen.

    When you look at the corporate bond market, you'll remember that post Bear and Lehman the market lost faith in S&P and Moody's ratings, and what was previously a super liquid market, the igh grade corporate bond market, seized up.

    When we look at everyday life, the list of interactions you came up with above, we see thousands of types of interactions that could be bettered by having an accessible reputation graph. And that is before the layers of applications we can't even imagine.

    We're super excited by the possibilities — and even more delighted that you are doing so much of the thinking for us ;)

  • Chuygens

    Hello John,

    We've developed a meaningful reputation index for public companies, which we graph. Here is a recent example: http://www.iafinance.org/_blog…/

    By material, I mean that the metrics are financially relevant. Our metrics and algorithms are not applicable to individuals.

    Nir

  • http://www.MichaelMusgrove.com Michael Musgrove

    Very interesting concept, especially for someone who is conducting a job search, owns a business or is in sales, or even the singles out there that want to do some pre-date due diligence.
    I don't think this is far off at all.

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  • AsherBond

    The reputation graph is like money 2.0

  • David Zapata

    You have to find a way to make this lucrative for folks. What's the incentive to share information? And what kind of information are you looking for?

    Negative information is hardly useful and hard to get also it doesn't necessarily show a person's character overall but just a moment in time from a certain perspective. People are notoriously bad at judging one another properly. Most hiring decisions are made through a person’s impression rather than testing scores.

    I suggest that testing and one's achievements are still the most important aspect of hiring of an individual. I'm not saying his degree but rather the work he has already done. http://blogs.zoho.com/general/

    So i have trained myself to not judge anyone on face value but on the work he has done. As a highering manager I find my most succesful recruits are always those with substansive resume's and I use the interviews to have them flush out their expierences and hopefuilly I'm inteligent enough to see how much their bloating.

  • http://twitter.com/alexromanovich Alex Romanovich

    Interesting post Jon. 'Social Graphs and Reputation Graphs' will be an interesting measurement tools and indicator for a number of uses. But I also think that with plethora of data and amorphous avalanche of information, there will be a movement toward indices. For example Social Media has an opportunity to create, and productize, the following indices: Reputation Index, Maturity Index, Engagement Index, Conversion Index, Scalability Index, Portability Index, and many others that will attempt to better define the behavior and the outcomes. The society, and business at large, will rebel by simplifying and labeling, or 'branding', various graphs and descriptors in the same way that the Financial Service industry is productizing unpredictable and speculative information tied to a variety of factors. Watch the space for aggregation, curation and packaging of behavioral and contextual information. Let's just hope that we will also assign a degree, or percentage of probability and certainty to these as well – when it comes to social media data, one can never be too sure. Once aggregated and indexed, the information will be applied into practice by monetization and applied, tactical marketing. Inferences can influence decisions better and faster. If the social engagement index is high, in a country with high political risk index (like Egypt by now), the clear sign to investor will be to stay away. Apply the same 'indexed graph' to the United States with high social index and low political risk index, and now politicians can shape their election strategies much better and more precisely. Investors can apply similar principles to industry sectors, making M&A decisions, which are more precise.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/wamatt Matthew Tagg

    Superb post Jon and nice to see this reputation business finally gaining a bit of ground.
    I blogged about it back in 2004, “The Next Big Thing”. Maybe a little early? :D http://replay.web.archive.org/… was before Facebook delivered us SSO, and we had the concept of social graphs etc,

    You've aptly named it Reputation Graph.

  • http://www.facebook.com/breinlinger Josh Breinlinger

    Love the thought about “Senior Superlatives” – I bet you're right.

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  • http://www.brandvois.com/ Reputation Management

    I've  been a fan of the reputation graph

  • Modern Everyman

    I thought about what I might say here, but I was concerned that if I said something unpopular, it could effect my reputation score.  So I would just like to say, I agree with the right people (and you know who you are).  Conformity rocks!

  • http://hardik.practutor.com/ Hardik

    Great stuff.. i am not marketing person. but i think you have great knowledge of online marketing.