by on June 28, 2015 at 2:22 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

That is a new start-up.  The purpose is to help your “sharing economy” reputation be portable across a number of sites, for instance Airbnb, DogVacay, Uber, Craigslist, and so on.

In my column from yesterday I speculated:

At the moment, one problem with many online ratings is that the information isn’t all publicly useful; for instance, a good Uber rating remains within Uber and cannot easily be exported to market a driver for other jobs or opportunities. Perhaps in the future workers might have the option of being certified by Uber or other services in a more general and publicly verifiable manner. That could make such services useful for upward mobility, and it might make their credentials competitive with those of some lower-tier colleges and universities.

I wish them luck…

1 ibaien June 28, 2015 at 2:55 pm

a modest proposal: our august host takes a sabbatical from GMU to live life in the ‘sharing economy’. daily blog updates: how much he made, what he could afford to eat, how he paid his mortgage, the stresses it put on his relationship…

2 prognostication June 28, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Remember though, Alice Goffman showed us all that qualitative methods and ethnography are inherently incapable of teaching us anything about the world.

3 derek June 28, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Maybe you can enlighten me. Tell me about the wonderful time in history where taxi drivers and hotel workers were well paid, where everyone could afford to eat and pay their mortgage, and bureaucrats, especially municipal ones had the best interests of their inhabitants in mind.

4 Sam Haysom June 28, 2015 at 5:21 pm

Maybe you can enlighten me. Name a time when one political movement so eagerly cheerled the race the buttom like libertarians do today. I mean at least during the the Gracchi’s lifetime the optimates didn’t sing the praise of the prevailing system the just used clubs and legislative tactics to stymie the reforms.

5 derek June 28, 2015 at 5:54 pm

It isn’t libertarians who are the force behind Uber. Plouff? Does the name right a bell?

6 Sam Haysom June 28, 2015 at 7:33 pm

Yea that name rings a bell. Now let’s try Cowen, how about Caplan, the undifferentiated mass of soi distant trendies over at Reason. What are their politics? Their views on Uber?

7 Toby June 28, 2015 at 9:21 pm

Uber does give the freedom to work when you want. This reduces the cost of providing the service.

8 derek June 28, 2015 at 10:35 pm

And they work for Uber, have connections to lobby effectively?

9 Cliff June 28, 2015 at 6:22 pm

Libertarians are not singing the praises of the prevailing system, nor is Uber the prevailing system

10 Sam Haysom June 28, 2015 at 7:31 pm

They are cheerleading the race to the bottom. The Gracchi were opposing a system that was getting worse every year as land concentrated more and more in fewer and fewer hands. It too was a race to the bottom.

11 Alain June 29, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Libertarians are cheering services where buyers and sellers willingly agree on the price of the service and freely enter into mutually beneficial exchanges.

It sounds like you are only for extraction of rents, I assume rents where you are the beneficiary.

12 meets June 28, 2015 at 3:24 pm

A modest proposal: our august commenter starts his own blog and shares his brilliant insights there.

Blogs are the original sharing economy apps.

13 Hazel Meade June 28, 2015 at 9:30 pm

Evil app idea:
Allow users ratings to show your political persuasion, so that other people can patronize you, or not, based on what side of the political aisle you are one.

14 Gordon Mohr June 28, 2015 at 11:12 pm

There have been a number of attempts at portable/aggregated reputation.

However, each of the vertical category winners (accurately) see their users’ on-site reputation logs as an important part of their competitive advantage. They fight reputation portability via technical and legal measures, in proportion to how successful the offsite aggregator threatens to be.

15 Alain June 29, 2015 at 12:36 pm


This is the current reality.

16 TracKing June 29, 2015 at 9:13 am

This is interesting. Is it possible to poach Uber drivers for non-uber tasks based on their ratings? Surely positive indicator for workers who are unable to make money based on formal education, but able to provide good customer service and socially interact with a wide range of people successfully. More than I can say for many entry level employees.

17 Al June 29, 2015 at 1:46 pm

I visited the HaveKarma website and looked at their FAQs. Under “Is my information safe?” I found this answer:

“Absolutely. User security is of the utmost importance to our team.”

Shoot. Come on guys. That’s not inspiring any confidence.

Is there an online company anywhere which doesn’t make the exact same claim?

On a scale from 0 to 10, how meaningful is that?

18 Ray June 30, 2015 at 3:10 pm

I thought your article was spot on, Tyler. I drove for Lyft for six months in my spare time to save up money for an engagement ring. I am a highly educated professional and most of my passengers would get very confused why I was driving a cab when I told them what I do for a living.

By keeping costs low, understanding the economics, learning the best pickup locations and times to drive, and targeting the most profitable events, I was able to easily net $12-15/hour after immediate costs during regular shifts and often much more. When targeting events, I was occupied closer to 30 minutes out of 60, which was all I cared about because I grossed just north of $1 per minute someone was physically in my car. And since I provided top-tier service (only one sub five-star review), I actually developed some regulars and boosted my take home (Lyft allows and encourages tipping, 100 percent of which is driver income). I tested my own theories to find good locations and times. I went to the giant apartment complex near my house and posted my user code, so I not only made the referral fee when they signed up, but when I logged in, I often got a fare while sitting in my living room. It was entrepreneurial and fun. $15/hour is a fraction of my day job, but I had fun and enjoyed the fares, so there was that utility (plus I learned all the hot bars, restaurants) and the paychecks went directly into the ring fund.

But I got to see behind the curtains and meet other drivers and read their messages and it was shocking how little many of them understood the business model or how to consistently make the most money. They couldn’t understand their bad reviews and many actively hated the job. They very closely resembled the type of people who fall for pyramid schemes. The few times I tried to help with concepts like “opportunity cost” or “scarcity” they didn’t get it. They would drive gas-guzzling SUVs or only work the busiest locations and times with the most competition. I started to feel guilty that I was running circles around them by figuring out things like you could get several Sunday morning church fares in black neighborhoods, grab a coffee, read the paper, and then take them home an hour later.

Eventually I bought the ring and stopped driving, but I agree with the full article completely. Human capital and education matter even more in a sharing economy. The idea of making an Uber-type rating more portable and more public with better metrics is a great idea. It would certainly tip me for or against in hiring decisions for full-time positions.

19 Walter Max Climber July 5, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Humans are very unfair to each other if you asked me. Most people are easily offended by little things, and that can lead to bad reviews. Recently at my local supermarket, a customer was arguing with the cashier about the price of an item. Even after the cashier showed her the right price, she insisted she will leave a negative review on yelp and other sites.

Can such horrible human experiences be controlled by a App or reputation management company? Probably not!

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