Is a transparent Reputation Based Economy the Future?

Reputation BasedMany of us take credit rating agencies and FICO scoring systems for granted.   In essence these are just tools for people starting new relationships to try and predict future actions based on past behavior.   I feel we are just starting to take advantage of the potential benefits that the Internet can provide us in this area.

This Wired article discusses the value of the data that companies like Airbnb or Uber are producing.  This is data that could be very valuable to other companies when vetting consumers.  Similar models of reviewing and scoring (like using social media) could be implemented to provide more information on consumers and businesses.

The author of the Wired piece puts an obligation on Airbnb to provide and share data for free so that we can bring about a new “sharing economy”.   This is utter malarkey, Airbnb and all those who have produced something through their ingenuity, labor and expense have every right to do what they want with their data.

This information has value and should be sold or traded based on how Airbnb sees fit.  Just because Airbnb did not start off as a data company does not create an obligation for them to share it.  That is the same as saying a corn farmer who finds oil on his land is obligated to share that oil.

It is possible that eventually various companies could share information with one another in order to build an open system in which we can compile and access this information produced from various sources to get a more complete picture of both service providers and consumers.  Granted, I feel that this is an unlikely possibility. More likely, a third party company would purchase data from various sources and compile it into some kind of database and sell that as a product/service.

This makes the most sense because you have multiple companies producing lots of very valuable information, but that information is specialized for their specific purposes.  All this different information would need to be compiled and standardized and then plugged into a usable and accessible format.  This also poses an issue in that you would have to reconcile multiple user identities across data from different sources.

These issues are all out of my domain of expertise.  However, one thing I do know is that the information is out there and more of it is getting produced every day.  We have not figured out a good solution to fully take advantage of all this information and provide value and transparency to businesses dealings with it.  I think we will, it is just a matter of when and how.

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