Opinity.com: New(er) Reputation System

I received word on Opinity (Beta). While it looks like the company has been around since 2002, this particular service seems fairly new.

Basically, the service acts as a centralized reputation system, similar to eBay’s system, but not specific to one particular activity. Opinity allows subscribers to rate others under a variety of circumstances. Beyond business relationships, here’s an example from the Opinity site.

“You decide to meet a person through an online dating site. You see a profile that is a good match. However, when you actually meet in person, you find the person is not even close to the profile posted on the web site. You feel like you waste your time and want to tell others that the information at the web site is not trustworthy. You go to Opinity to write a review about the person.”

Along with allowing users to rate you, Opinity also offers “reputation management”, which, if you have a decent reputation, you can post your authentic reputation report to your website or blog.

I am not sure this actually works (its a bit confusing), but I have concerns on a couple of levels. First, if anyone can review anyone (which I am not sure is the case), can we avoid reputation vandalism? Or, alternately, if one needs a userid (or other specific information) to review another person, who would let this information out to someone who could damage your online reputation. And in this case, we would only get the positives in most cases.

I like the reputation system in eBay as only those who you directly deal with can comment. And even so, eBay can mediate reputation disputes. In a way, I do like the idea of a central reputation service or reputation systems in ideal terms. However, I am seeing that something like this, in the way it is set up, can either be damaging, or essentially useless in providing accuracy.