In 2012 Adam Smith, 37, posted the video below of a confrontation he instigated with an employee at a Chic-Fil-A drive-thru. From his self-righteous mobile soapbox he berated the woman about the companies controversial stance on homosexuality, as if the befuddled woman had anything to do with it. Adam goes on to suggest that the employee is complicit by association, assuming that she decided to work at Chic-Fil-A in order to spread their philosophy, rather than because yuppie douchebags like him thrive on the upward redistribution of wealth created by the service industry, which forces a sector of the population to have to endure a lifetime of meaningless labor in which they are repeatedly forced to deal with entitled assholes like him. The video immediately went viral and ruined Adam’s career. See, there is hope for humanity!
Adam is now on food stamps and is widely held as unemployable. Mr. Smith destroyed his own reputation and the consequences were instant and will be long-lasting. In a reputation economy, such grossly narcissistic actions will not be coefficient with economic well being and survival.
Review sellers are those who work with online merchants to give their products positive ratings, even though they have not actually purchased the product, and if they had, would still be reviewing it with the bias of profit motive. This undermines the entire system of customer ratings and reviews and creates inaccurate information about products which undermines free market practices that help bring us better goods at better prices and which reflect our values, ethics and morals.
The reputation economy will be built around reviews and ratings. If Amazon is able to win these lawsuits, it will set a legal precedence which will safeguard review systems from corruption. Eventually these laws will become cultural habits that will prevent us from damaging our reputation by tinkering with the systems that measure it. Of course, that is not always going to work. It will also be necessary to employ technologies that secure rating and reviews from tampering. Like, you know, encryption…
A new company has emerged that wants to use the same kind of encryption systems used in manufacturing cyber-currency to create a reputation aggregate for encryption currency users. Shit just got seriously meta. The company, Bitrated, noted that there existed a basic lack of trust in Bitcoin and other crypto-currency users. The anonymity of these systems provides few means of dealing with those who decide to abuse it, or are using it in unethical ways. Recognizing this problem, Bitrated has created a user rating system which will allow a community of users to trade with greater confidence and some vestige of transparency.
I have argued for awhile that crypto currency itself is just a means to an end. A step of a trend or process which will make currency obsolete. As currency, it invites a lot of great minds who are interested in technology and profits. Yet what is learned about encryption will likely be used in myriads of other ways, in much the same way that NASA invents things astronauts will never use, or pornography drove the technology of the internet. The value of crypto currencies is not the currency part, but the encryption part. The reputation economy will rely on technologies that can provide accurate information about the reputation of an individual or enterprise. Encryption will help insure that fake reviews do not cloud our information, so that when some sociopathic suit trash starts crawling up your ass, your review of him will be sure to totally and reliably fuck him economically.