I heard from the folks at SezWho this week. They are trying to get people interested in their new rating and reputation service for blogs, forums, wikis and other social sites. I felt wary. I’d just been through an investigation into Rapleaf and Upscoop, reputation ratings sites that turned out to be less than wonderful.
When I started looking into SezWho, I discovered I’d already seen it in action on some of the social media sites I frequent. A number of sites adopted it while it was still in beta. It’s in full release now.
Here’s how it works. A individual sets up a profile and uses it when participating on blogs, wikis, forums or any other site with user generated content. Other users comment on the value of the individual’s comments. It’s rather like the way you rate sellers on eBay or Amazon by giving feedback on their service. In this way, the individual builds up a portable reputation that follows from site to site.
This is the official SezWho description of the benefits of SezWho:
The Red Carpet widget lets communities feature top-rated participants on a virtual red carpet. Each avatar links to individual profiles that provide a history of comments, associated articles or pages, and the overall ranking for each. The new SezWho badge lets contributors display their personal rating and expertise portfolio on their blogs or other sites to reinforce an earned reputation.
Beyond tracking conversations and the value of individual contributions, the latest SezWho release also provides statistics for both contributors and site owners. Contributor statistics show who and how many people are rating and viewing a contributor’s profile. Site statistics show how much additional traffic SezWho is driving and where that traffic is coming from.
All types of community participants benefit from SezWho. Readers use SezWho to find interesting content quickly and easily based on community ratings. Content contributors build credibility with SezWho, then carry reputations and aggregated knowledge to other sites. Site owners leverage contributor-based content discovery to drive traffic and encourage community participation. SezWho drives traffic through contributor profiles that link to additional content within the community.
It’s easy to implement. There are various browser platform plugins. Or you can get code to paste into your template similar to what you do with Feedburner or Digg to track posts.
Maybe you’ve seen SezWho in action, too, as I have. Sites such as Read/WriteWeb and VentureBeat have been using it. When SezWho is implemented on a site a small form at the end of a comment asks you to rate a comment as helpful or not. You also see a form that lets you filter comments by ratings, so you can read the highest rated comments first. If you have a profile and have developed a good reputation as a partcipant, you can put a badge showing your reputation on your own site. (I assume you wouldn’t want to advertise a bad reputation.)
The company PR above claims that SezWho has a way of seeing who is rating a profile. Does that mean SezWho has a method to prevent abuse, such as the kind of gaming Digg or SlashDot have had to deal with in reputation management? Or does that mean that there are some privacy issues that are getting glossed over? I can’t find anything on the site about privacy issues.
SezWho doesn’t make sense for a site like this one that has few comments. But for a site with dozens of commenters on almost every post, it would be good to have a way to filter the meaningful remarks from the chaff submitted by people who are just trying to get their URL out there because they were told that commenting on blogs was a good way to spread their URL around. I see potential for a good thing with SezWho, but I’d like to know more about how they track individuals and what they do with that information once they have it.
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