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Digital reputation as a Game March 12, 2010

Posted by mjnasi in Blogroll.
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Digital reputation as a Game,

It’s an idea and a perspective Antti and I have been entertaining ourselves with over the past couple of weeks. We’ve yet to fully convince the other members (and perhaps even ourselves) in the research group of the validity and the reasons behind this approach…

By writing it down I hope to a) open up the idea for myself even more, and

b) Maybe be able to convince rest of the research group that it is a valid approach in terms of the project (or on the other hand provide them with the necessary tools to convince us to drop it..). Either way, a win-win situation!

The reason why I believe reputation as a game is valid metaphor in this context relates to the fact that games, be it football, basketball or board games, are familiar to most people. Thus the motivation behind the idea of digital reputation as a game lies within the attempt to captivate any potential interest by using terminology and theories that are familiar to most, but also use them as tools in explaining and building on potential theories as the research moves forward. On the other hand, rules and other basic elements in most games can quite easily be transferred to wide array of contexts.

For instance,

Reputation game consists of two teams, on one side there are firms providing goods and services and on the other side there are consumers. The game can be played either by Firm vs. Customer, Firm vs. Firm, or Customer vs. Customer.

  • That is, the firm is evaluated and opinionated by the consumers before they make up their mind/decide whether the firm has a good reputation or a bad one.
  • Firms compete against each other in terms of who has the best reputation.
  • Customers compete against each other in terms of opinions and reasoning behind their opinions about certain firms and why they consume their products. Battle of expertise/group pressure in other words.

Firms that have good products/services, positive publicity and generally reliable customer support can provide a solid defence against knowledgeable/critical customers with the likelihood of relatively small number of critics anyway. On the other hand firms with problems, bad press etc. have less tools to defend against customer dissatisfactions, negative comments/blogs, bad press etc, thus the customers have the upper hand/more influence in term of the firms (negative) reputation.

Most games, just like firm’s reputation management, involve both formal and informal rules, as well as their enforcement. Some firms are better in managing (playing the game) their reputation than others. If strategy in terms of firm’s reputation management can be associated with the game plan (strategy) of any particular football team, playing with the terminology makes it possible to open up the concept of (digital) reputation in a way that it perhaps more familiar to a larger audience.

Making a further reference to football, all football managers study their opponents, listen to their scouts, learn how the opponent plays and then make a decision regarding the game plan. Firms can do the same in terms of listening to their customers, analysing the strategy of competing firms in order to decide what actions to take in term of their goods and services. So the same/similar tools that make some football managers better than the others can possibly be of use within the context reputation.

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Comments»

1. salla - March 12, 2010

Indeed, I am also entertained by the metaphor of a football field, though I must admit my knowledge on the subject is veeery low ;) But these comparisons even on a simple basis can help a lot when describing the situation.

2. ainamo - March 17, 2010

Reputation as a game and football: The case of Beckham

The eyes of the world have been in the recent days been turned on the city of Turku, Finland, where David Beckham was operated upon due to his injury in an AC Milan game. I think that interesting — from our view — is that few have talked much about how the AC Milan game ended. Many have written that David Beckham was probably not the best player in the game. In this set of phenomena (game, player) the media focus on what or who has highest reputation; that is, Bechham. Given that we have somewhat of an interest in economic aspects, note that David Beckham is also one of the richest athletes in the world. To have good reputation is do something right.

3. Susanna - March 17, 2010
4. Montola - March 24, 2010

We’ve been looking at what we call “ludic society”, a society that’s getting increasingly playful and gamelike. For instance, Jesse Schell discusses similar ideas, hop to 11 minutes. All kinds of systems are turning into games, starting from doing favours and chores to saving the world. And reputation clearly goes into the same vein.

EVE Online is a particularly interesting game in peer ranking and reputation. I’m not sure if you’ll find any published research on it, but it is an environment where organizations and individuals constantly rank each other to form alliances and such: When a player organization recruits a member, the background checks and interviews and such are meticulous — after all, the players of EVE Online engage a lot in espionage, counterespionage et cetera.

5. salla - March 29, 2010

Montola, thank you for the ludic society link, I’m sure we’ll find it interesting! Is society turning more gamelike or is it just researchers finding a way to describe the human nature better? ;-)

Indeed peer reputation has been studied a lot, especially in the context of online stores (eBay etc). These closed reputation systems are perhaps just a bit more simple than customer markets but nevertheless offer good space for comparison.


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