Why Not a Ranking System for People?

My friend Dan Schawbel, founder of Personal Branding Blog, put on his futurist cap and wrote the post, “The Personal Brand Marketplace of the Future. Are Your Prepared?”  In this, Dan made the point that we rate products and companies, so why not rate people?  That is a good question Dan, so let me tell you why I think we don’t rate people:

In 2007 we launched a little web product based on an algorithm we wrote here at Workface Inc.  We never marketed it, and it never took off, but we for a very short period of time allowed for the rating of people.  The service is called PeopleTrusted.  You can find a link to the people rating site here.

The reason a company like ours has such a problem ranking people isn’t the fact that it would provide value to some other person or group of people, it’s the CYA problem (CYA as in cover your ass).  Rating or ranking a specific person (vs. a company or product) has substantial (libel) defamation of character implications.  The nature of providing a service like this comes down to the courts historical preference in protecting a person’s name and status, and awarding damages for those who inflict any harm on their name/status/personal character.

I agree with Dan that having nothing but positive fluff out there doesn’t help other people in making decisions.  In most cases when you rate a vendor in Ebay, you’re really talking about your buying experience with that person, but Ebay can avoid the slander and defamation by calling them a vendor.

How many negative recommendations have you seen in LinkedIn?  If you’ve every seen one, I want to know about it.  Of course you haven’t.  The recommendation system is filtered by the respective account owner.  There are only good recommendations in LinkedIn, NEVER bad ones.


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