Consumer rating sentences to ponder

“Highly specific pools of reputation information will become more useful in aggregate,” said Mr. Fertik, co-author with David C. Thompson of “The Reputation Economy,” a guide to optimizing digital footprints. “If you’re a really good Uber passenger, that may be useful information for Amtrak or American Airlines. But if you add in your reputation from Airbnb plus OpenTable plus eBay, it starts to get useful globally.”

There is more here, interesting throughout.  But will there be errors in these measurements?  As I wrote to Ashok Rao, fresh regressions are a public good.


I'm sure that's true, if all reviews were as honest as this one.

Here's a question about reputations using an example from public policy pundits. A dozen years ago we had a really good test of reputation: Would it be a good idea to invade Iraq?

Today, we have a pretty good idea of how that turned out. And yet, did anybody who was wrong suffer much in terms of reduced reputation? Andrew Sullivan?

How about politicians? Barack Obama made one speech against the Iraq Attaq, and benefited from that fact. But the politician who went in most heavily against the war, Howard Dean, seems lost in the mists of time. In contrast, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are supposed to be the front runners in 2016.

So maybe reputation and brand are quite different, and at the upper levels of the power structure, it's better to have a brand name than a good reputation?

Why did being "wrong" about Iraq (at least according to the current conventional wisdom) not have a bigger impact on reputation? Probably because failure to predict the future is not a sign of bad character.

Good people of upstanding character can be on both sides of a question like that (and were).

Good people can change their minds on whether a policy was a good idea, once they see the outcome.

This is not to say that everyone's behavior in this debate was good. Surely there was a lot of playing politics and pandering to public opinion behind the positions that politicians took. But for any particular individual, there is a plausible explanation for their actions that does not impinge on their character. So, whether or not they behaved dishonorably tends to be viewed through the lens of one's political leanings.

Failure to predict (or more accurately, understand and assess situations) is not a sign of bad character, but it is a sign of horrible judgment. People with such poor judgment should not be in a position of responsibility. As Jeff Bezos says, great leaders are usually right. I wouldn't have a problem if the Clinton and Bush were individual contributors somewhere (although there are other factors implicating Clinton's integrity). The fact they are involved in governing is a serious problem.

SS touches on something everybody in Hollywood knows: there's no such thing as a bad reputation. Years ago, I saw in the WSJ a social study that claimed --implausibly but in my personal history I find to be true--that good or bad letters of recommendation mean nothing for the future earning capacity of a person. I've had bosses who (when I worked for the government) tell me they would say bad things about me--it's a long story but it got personal--and I was obligated to list them as references and they were immune from defamation laws due to the act the US government has sovereign immunity. But I still got a good job and--thanks to sticky wages? lol not--I never took a pay cut. Market forces >> reputation. Likewise, in politics, name recognition and avoiding gaffes like the "Dean Scream" (Google this) is worth more than whatever views or wrong ideas you may have had, pace, however, you don't want to be found in bed with a live boy or a dead girl as Edwin Washington Edwards (born August 7, 1927) an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who served as the U.S. Representative for Louisiana said.

The reason why the public reputation of Iraq war boosters has help up relatively well is because in the minds of a lot of people the war was justified, even if was on dubious pretenses

On both Left and RIght, it is more important to have been in the right than it is to have been right.

I think it has hurt them in the long term, non-interventionist candidates having a floor under 1 percent now have a floor close to 20% in the primary and better results in the general. That suggest the old establishment can't last much beyond 2024.

Am I going to get low ratings because of cultural differences/misunderstandings? If so then wouldn't drivers not picking me up be a civil rights violation?

What if the Uber drivers in my conservative city will not pick me up because they think my filipina girlfriends are too young?

Reputation economy, in the sense of allowing yourself or others to make subjective assessments, likely never vetted or recorded, is precisely the wrong way to go. Thoughtful questionnaires and passionless feedback surveys (because it is all in the wording), created by a professional, disinterested third-party (perhaps as a side service for an ad agency - do they still exist?), are needed to really assess a product and service. Unfortunately, 9 times out of 10 they (the current polls) are not entertaining (and therefore not pursued by those interested in using the service or not by the service itself as part of an ad campaign) and are usually not done by people who had an average or better experience - which would certainly skew the results. The ideal situation, if undertaken with strict adherence to guidelines, would be an opt-out system where you are presented with a survey already filled out as 'average' with the time and place of your service that will be subsequently posted on a popular social media outlet unless you alter it to your specific experience and/or choose to opt-out of its posting having reasonably scanned it before the bill is paid (which would make it crucial internal data but not public). If the process is under 30 seconds for opt-out and under 3 minutes for updated data, it would go over. The resulting economy would be private, highly-informed, and passionlessly-judged-and-vetted. Life would start to feel a little bit like a software installation agreement - but a small price to pay.

Wouldn't reputation as a client or consumer matter only if it was bad?

What are the stories behind a bad score as a client? For Uber, I could imagine someone who books a ride and isn't there, or requires hosing out the vehicle afterwards, or is unclear where they are going and don't want to pay for the extra time, is abusive or demeaning, or simply doesn't want to pay.

No problem, nothing the web bot banker cannot handle.

The web bot pays on deposits and earns lending in units of Uber discounts, priced accurately based on the probability distribution of Uber rides in any connected market. Savings and borrowings are available from the bot for any of the connected users; drivers or riders. Drivers are free to hand out Uber discounts and will always honor them. There is no hedging opportunity available, the web bot sets rates to be Black-Scholes, all the time. A complete digital currency.

So, no need to rate riders,the driver can just pass out a discount to favored riders. No need to rate drivers, the rider just dumps discounts dis-favored drivers. Hence everything properly priced. All market information optimally gathered.

I'm not sure how any information at all is useful to Amtrak, no matter how much data it has, it isn't like it can afford to turn away passengers or make any money. I'm not sure what AMR would do either - add a bad passenger surcharge?

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