Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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critique

rating system for service professions
  (+8)(+8)
(+8)
  [vote for,
against]

Most of the problem with trying to get a new business started is to get enough of a good reputation out about yourself before you run out of money to stay open. Even if you do good business, it can be hard to get people to talk about you to others, and advertising can be very expensive. My idea is this: a small keychain sized device is carried by consumers that bump into a fairly large amount of business professionals every day. Business professionals wear a necklace or bracelet that emits a signal that is readable by these keychains.

The keychain could have a small screen that pops up a picture of the person you want to rate, and have a simple plus and minus sign to do so. There could also be just a 'capture' mode so that you could capture the signal until later so you don't have to vote too obviously in front of someone if it is embarrassing. And with the ability to see a photo of that person, you wouldn't have to worry about voting for the wrong person in case you captured the wrong signal in a busy area.

Then there could be a website devoted to profiling all the professionals that have the signal bracelet/necklace. The nice thing about this system is that it allows you to identify specific people in an industry, and not simply a huge corporation (i.e., instead of rating a whole corporation based on your experience with one person who works for it, you would just rate that one person, and that reputation could remain with them indefinitely through multiple careers, or allow others to seek out that specific person for their needs).

Of course, for something like this to be really useful, it would have to be popular and cheap, but because of its potential ability to drive business, and the ease of use, it seems like it would have at least a fighting chance. The most difficult thing would be the initial identification that would be needed to start, but technology makes that easier every day.

A bit of an aside: maybe cell phones could start including the technology, so instead of getting an extra piece of hardware you have to lug around, it's just an extra thing you can do with your phone, especially since many phones have the ability to directly access the internet, and download photos of the individuals you are rating...

drummac88, Mar 06 2008

Web version http://www.mytradesman.co.nz/default.asp
An NZ website that's pretty much this idea, but web-based [neutrinos_shadow, Apr 03 2008]

[link]






       Some interesting ideas. Sticking electronics on people is problematic (batteries? privacy? transparency? cost?), but I like how much you've thought the rating mechanism through, particularly rating out of sight, and counting transactions.
jutta, Mar 06 2008
  

       Like anything it's open to corruption. The first thing I'd do is ask all my friends to rate me. Also, anyone who didn't like you who had never done business with you could give you a bad rating, so could your competitors.   

       That said, I can't think of a better way unless you do it through a bank or escrow service where you get 1 vote per transaction.
marklar, Mar 06 2008
  

       I like it (+). The proximity aspect seems to be a good idea for limiting corruption.
MisterQED, Mar 06 2008
  

       //it's potential// - its.
xenzag, Mar 06 2008
  

       //first thing I'd do is ask all my friends to rate me//
Let the business in turn rate each customer, and allow individuals to rate each other. Analyze the results, and you'll have a pretty good indication of quality.
Amos Kito, Mar 06 2008
  

       I immediately realized the potential for corruption; my hope with something like this is that it is accessible enough that LOTS of people are voting, and that each person is allowed a vote at a business only once within a certain time period. That way, even those that have alot of friends can't stack enough votes to make much of an appreciable difference.
drummac88, Mar 06 2008
  

       Sorry, sounds like comercialist pigism to me. What's wrong with a good product that people need instead of creating a want.
zeno, Mar 07 2008
  

       Would make a good plug-in for LinkedIn.
wagster, Apr 01 2008
  

       [zeno] What's wrong with creating a want? Our actual needs are few.
bneal27, Apr 02 2008
  

       So you’re saying that we shouldn't do anything that is not directly related to our survival?
bneal27, Apr 03 2008
  

       <whisper> $3 off if you'll vote for me</whisper>
Voice, Apr 03 2008
  

       So how does this idea promote only those wants that are unsustainable? This could even be part of the solution by including sustainability as one of the rating categories.
bneal27, Apr 03 2008
  
      
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