How CustomerTech Can Improve Product/ Service Reviews

This post writes up my take on a discussion on the VRM List, that initially asked the question ‘can reviews be made portable so that they can appear in more than one place?’. The short answer is we believe yes, there is at least one way to do that, using JLINC, and quite possibly other protocols. And in doing so we believe we can much improve the provenance of the review record so that it becomes more useful and more reliable for all parties.

So how might that work, and what might that then mean? The diagram below illustrates a basic un-structured review of a hotel booking being shared consciously and in a controlled, auditable manner with 3 separate travel related services.

The critical components in this model are:

  • Self sovereign identity – in place for all parties which enables downstream data portability, no lock-in, reputation management and ultimately verified claims where they are useful
  • A Server – to be or connect to the individual’s data store, manage the KYS process (know your supplier), represent the individual in the agreement negotiation, and log all signing and data share activity
  • Information Sharing Agreement – to set out the permanent terms associated with the specific data sharing instance. In this case, and very interestingly, we believe that we may be able to use an existing Creative Commons licence
  • B Server – to present requests for reviews to individuals acknowledging the customer-driven terms to be used, and flagging any downstream use (and ultimately having downstream data controllers sign the same agreement)
  • Audit log – the permanent record of what was shared with whom for what purpose under what terms stored to keep all parties honest.

Personally I think this is the way forward for reviews, and offers people like Consumer Reports and Which the opportunity to re-invent their business models.

Anyone want to give it a try?

PS The same principles and methods apply to pretty much any other ‘volunteered personal information’ scenario. I think over time that approach will win our over capturing ‘behavioural surplus’.