Hi, my name is Juan and I am the cofounder and CEO of Traity. I would like to take the opportunity to answer all your questions in the same way I answer them when I speak face to face, basically avoiding all the bullshit. Below, I have covered all the questions that I am asked on a daily basis. If you have other questions, please feel free to ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer those questions here.
Whether you manage it or not, you have a reputation. Etymologically, reputation means "what other people think about you". And everybody already has an opinion about you. Traity gives you the opportunity to aggregate that information in one place,where you can control it and use it in ways that are beneficial to you and to society.
Trust is in every transaction we make as human beings. And 99% of transactions work out well. Unfortunately, because of that 1%, humans are cautious. This means that, in a trustless environment, we either start very slowly (trusting other people with small things, then progressing to bigger and bigger ones) or trusting a third party, like Visa, in the case of payments, or Harvard, in the case of hiring a doctor.
Online we have limited choices because there is no Harvard. If you try to rent a shared appartment on CraigList, many people will ask you for your "Facebook" or "LinkedIn" profiles (I wonder what people expect to do with that information beyond looking at your pictures, and if they your picture, assuming you are a good guy or girl). The same goes to any other peer-to-peer transactions, such as online dating (I did meet my ex-girlfriend online and she was concerned about whether I was a good guy), or buying and selling second hand: I tried to buy a second hand laptop on a well known website and the guy never sent the product. I traced his email address, eventually found his name and took him to court. Unfortunately I never got my money back because it was sub $500 and it was not considered a crime. If I had had Traity, I would have been able to see the track record of this individual.
Traity is not a social network per sé. Traity is an aggregator of information that you can use to prove your reputation to other people. The repository of your reputation, your reputation passport, a gate to the data you want to share with others to prove you are a good online citizen for any kind of transactions, giving you all the control."
This question is critical. Calculating reputation is difficult because, "what is reputation and where does it come from?" Let's try to answer that question first.
Reputation comes from endorsement. A management consultant gets reputation from his/her firm, like McKinsey or BCG. A lawyer gets reputation from his/her client, like Samsung or Apple. A doctor gets reputation from her university, like Harvard or Stanford. Reputation, therefore, comes from other entities, which have reputation themselves, acquired over time. In most transactions, reputation comes from some common friend or contact, or from building a relationship over many years.
The thing is that reputation means different things to you than to me. If we look at the same random person on the street, we should have the same appreciation for reputation, but we don't. If that person seems more familiar to you than to me (for example, because of clothes that you find similar to your style), you automatically assign more reputation to that person than i do. That's interesting because the person is the same and is still a stranger.
If you are a blood donor and we learn that this person is also a blood donor, your trust in this person automatically multiplies, simply because you both share some values. So transparency is critical, positive actions are important, endorsements are the base of reputation, and at the end, familiarity of how that person relates to you, is what makes you trust someone.
However, this is not enough. We still don't know if this person is a good driver, or a good cook. We only know this person is "nice" from a reputation point of view. To have reputation about the skills or traits of this person, we need to go back to a history, either endorsed by friends ("she is a great driver") or look at real transactions ("5 stars on Uber or Lyft"). This is why reputation is not just about an absolute number, it's about the context for reputation and about the people involved.
1. The first stage is the phase of identity. We have to know that you are who you say you are. I believe that, although this seems simple, it's one of the most impeding challenges of the reputation economy. It is purely a matter of transparency. We ask users to login with different social networks and we'll check that those networks seem legit (in terms of friends, content, when they were created, friends are legit themselves, etc.) and will check that the name is consistent across them, or that you have many of the same friends in the different networks. We'll also go offline, to ask you to upload your passport or ID, so that we can "verify it".We delete the picture, we just maintain the fact that "you verified yourself with the right name".
2. The next phase has to do with you. Your bio, your personality, your achievements. The more you tell us about yourself, the better for your transparency and the better to show others. This does not "prove" reputation in any way, because any person could write anything they want about themselves, but this is part of that subjective reputation where we might trust other people who are similar to us, and this is not about what is right or wrong, it's just about how/who you are.
3. The next phase has to do with studying your social networks. I mentioned this earlier, but there are more algorithms we are running. Who are your best friends, where do you spend most of your time, is it consistent with where your best friends spend time? If you say on LinkedIn that you worked for McKinsey, do you have friends in your network who also worked for McKinsey? If they did not, it might seem strange. This does not cover all aspects of reputation, but now if you want to fake a profile, you have to fake 500 profiles of 500 friends, and probably also their friends, so we are making it more difficult for people to fake their social identities.
4. The next phase has to do with recommendations. We ask your friends what they would recommend you for. They might think you are friendly, or disciplined, or any other trait. This is part of your reputation. These are actions within Traity. We are decentralising it so that you can give "badges" to other people for whatever you believe they have reputation. From being creative to being great leaders or being funny.
5. The more visual aspect is that we are integrating with different reputation webs like collaborative consumption companies. Sharing houses, sharing cars, etc. All of them have its own reputation system, which is very inefficient because users need to start from zero in every market. And if they have passport verification, you have to upload your passport to 100 sites. Not very efficient. This is what we call the ReputationAPI. When you give us access, we take reviews information from collaboration economy companies. Algorithms here don't play a big part. Aggregation is more important. If you think about it, eBay gives you the % rating and the number of transactions. The % is important (you want to see 99.9%) but the number of transactions as well. Less transactions is worse, more transactions is safer. Even if you see 98% in 50 transactions, you will want to read "the bad one," so that's why I say that algorithms are not so important here. It's all about transparency and letting people have access to the full history so that they can read the bad one, or whatever they want to make up in their minds.