A key feature of Amazon is its rating system. Rating systems are relatively straight-forward to build, but they need much data and get better with more data. I think Amazon builds a monopoly that way. However, I also think we could build an Universal Rating System (URS).
Just as important as pure rating are reviews.
What would an URS need?
Directly neccessary are
- Identification of people: The same person should not be able to write multiple reviews or make multiple ratings for the same product. It is not important to tell which online-identity belongs to which person. In fact, I think it would be good if it was possible to keep users anonym while making sure that everybody has only one online-identity.
- Identification of products: Users have to be able to find products and they have to find reviews to that product. So some kind of product identification number is necessary.
- Ratings for reviews
- Uploading photographs
- Product description: This should be objective.
Indirectly necessary are
- Recommendations: If users see that they get good recommendations from an independant source they might use the system. If they see that those recommendations imporve with more reviews and more ratings, they add more of them. This way the system gets better.
- Possibility to compare products: Examples are phonearena.com, ark.intel.com and others. But they are always limited to some products.
- Search: Users should be able to search for a product by specifying it. This could be a price range, a category, a review average, a minimum number of reviews, ...
- Easy login: Something like OpenID that makes it easy for users to create an account and sign in.
- *Right incentives: Having a great community is much about giving the right incentives. Badages and Karma are a great way to do so as shown with StackExchange.
- Advertisment: People have to get informed about such a system.
- Organization: The software should be OpenSource, the data should be published (as far as possible without breaking privacy) and the organization which runs the software should be a nonprofit organization. The reason is simply that it prevents abuse.
- Product registration: Companies should have the possibility to register their products to get an identification number.
- Project name: A good name is important. Any ideas?
Does anybody know if such a project already exists?
If there is no such project by now: Is anybody interested in working on it?