Wired has an article that you might have missed because of a misleading headline, The New Multiple Personality Disorder. It should have been called “The New Reputation Brokers,” since article is not about identity theft but the growth of a new reputation economy.
Reputation is critical to business because it allows us to transact with strangers. It’s what eBay understands. It makes them successful because it enables it’s members to be successful. (According to the article, sellers on eBay with high ratings are likely to sell an item for 8 percent more than other sellers.)
As a result, systems like eBay are widely admired while credit reporting agencies are reviled. (Can you say “ChoicePoint?”)
Why? eBay’s transactions and feedback are transparent. If someone says something’s bad about you, you know who said it and why. The design of their system understands that both parties share an interest in the integrity of that information.
“When you look closely, it’s hard to find any logic in the idea that our personal data is private property. The very existence of our reputation arises from the fact that information is shared. As we buy and sell, borrow and repay, our identities multiply, accumulating new qualities and scars. This is a good thing.”There is a need and desire for better managers of our digital reputations and a powerful opportunity for new information brokers who help us take more control of them.