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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.