Interesting article on Techcrunch about a company called Rapleaf. The nub:

Rapleaf will allow anyone to leave feedback for anyone they’ve transacted with. Others can use this feedback to help them determine if they are doing business with someone who’d likely to engage in fraud. Rapleaf is eBay feedback for the rest of the web, and the offline world.

Very interesting idea. Of course, there have been various solutions that people have tried to address the curse (and perhaps sometimes blessing) that, on the internet, no one knows if you’re a dog. I always thought encryption and the whole public key infrastructure thing would go somewhere, you know, with PGP and all being used, then of course the various bodies around the world setting up certification authorities, and then related legislation, etc. etc. That could have solved a lot of problems, including, amongst others, spam. And of course fraud. Surprisingly enough it never got off the ground all that well and in its stead we find reputational markers such as this.

Interesting how the internet has enabled the scaling of these sorts of reputational mechanisms. Where it was once a couple of neighbours chatting about the best butcher, its now millions of folks spread across dozens of countries having their opinions on thousands (or more) vendors. Talk about network effects.