Can We All Just Get Along?

We’ve been talking about setting up a tipping point by adding a new metric to the single data point that’s interesting to sellers today: what things cost. This is a failure of record-keeping and imagination. Previously, I found myself amazed by the fact that the only datum tracked by sellers is what something costs, or a lot of somethings:

Today’s companies report just one kind of data – price, but they sometimes call it cost. (price received from the buyer, price of all the costs & expenses, and the difference between those prices, called Earnings). That’s all the sellers in our economy care about, and they’re the only ones keeping the data. It’s also the only fact keeping your portfolio above zero.

Cluetrain Rule 1: Markets are conversations. Not about price or costs or earnings, but about quality. If the Internet is going to talk about quality, we need to capture data about quality. Xpertweb does this by capturing quality data at the moment of payment, in the form of a number and a comment. Here’s an example of a $100 Xpertweb transaction:

  1. Buyer picks a service
  2. Seller delivers the service and invoices the buyer, subject to the buyer’s rating
  3. On the invoice, the buyer rates the service 1-99% plus a comment
  4. The Buyer’s grade may adjust price
             85-99% earns $100
             50-85% earns $50-85
               1-50% earns $0
  5. On a transaction summary form, the seller rates the buyer 1-99% plus a comment

All grades and comments are recorded and permanently visible.

TipWare for the Rest of Us

Why would a seller trust a buyer to give a fair grade when a low grade reduces the buyer’s cost? Probably for the same reason that a waitperson trusts most of her income to strangers’ appreciation of her service. Further, the Xpertweb seller knows the buyer’s grading history before accepting the assignment. That history is a lot more detailed than eBay’s huge rating system, which has had the kinds of problems that may be inevitable with a centrally managed rating system.
11:56:43 PM    

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