Among the many reasons to blog, one of the greatest is to expand one’s reputation and, unless you’re Mother Teresa, a prime reason for improving your reputation–your personal brand–is to get more business. Any prominent blogger is implicitly available to speak or consult on the areas she discusses on her blog.
This motivation deserves more play than it’s getting. In commerce we discover how to value each other in the way that matters most: exchanging the fruits of our labor for someone else’s. Can there be any greater way to honor another?
We blog not just to connect more but to be worth more and to earn more.
What if there were a sophisticated form of trackback on our blog to aggregate the details of our offline transactions? This would extend our blog’s utility by presenting our real-world activities objectively so our trust of each other might extend beyond how we speak of ourselves. It would also capture how others speak of us, and explicitly how they rate us as they pay us.
Peer-to-peer like the Blogosphere
An Xpertweb page can act as a supplement to a web log tracking your words and another’s words when you do a transaction together. It’s a highly structured trackback that records your effects on others. Every time a buyer submits an order, any data saved on the seller’s site is duplicated on the buyer’s site, by the buyer’s trusted script, in the form of an order confirmation page. Then, as the transaction progresses, the mirrored data store is enriched, culminating with each party’s grade and comment, which is the point of the whole system.
All this data replicates to other sites in the same way that the worthwhile things we say are quoted on other blogs. The blogosphere’s triangulation of our posts is a part of its robustness and its reliability–we simply can’t reverse course too often or our personal brand is diluted. Xpertweb similarly captures and publishes our quality ratings. The hardest part of the system has been to make it as peer-to-peer as the blogosphere. It would have been more straightforward to design it with a centralized data store. But then it would have been too easy to succumb to temptations to charge for the service. Better it should be a protocol rather than a service.
In the agora, everyone can watch each other shopping. The citizens are on display like the melons.
BloggerCon Xpertweb Demo
Roland Tanglao and I will be attending Dave Winer’s BloggerCon, and will be demonstrating the Xpertweb tools at the Hotel@MIT. If you’d like to have a look, please contact me through the little envelope icon, or contact Roland directly.