March 2, 2006 12:53 PM PST

Start-up lets sites track user karma

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Propelled by the idea that user rating systems like those on eBay and Amazon.com can benefit all businesses, a Florida start-up has launched a reputation management service that any Web site can use.

Jupiter, Fla.-based iKarma's new service allows any Web site owner to add user, reader or customer-created ratings to their site. That, said iKarma CEO Paul Williams, can significantly increase business.

"People (on eBay) with an established reputation, as opposed to those without a reputation, made 20 percent more sales with an average of 10 percent higher cost," Williams said. "We want businesses to be proactive about their reputation. You've got thousands of happy customers. Don't wait for the one unhappy customer."

For now, iKarma is just getting started and must establish its own reputation for providing customers with a service they find useful. And Williams admits that without a critical mass of users, the system is less than 100 percent useful.

But when enough users are visiting sites and leaving ratings for businesses they've dealt with, he explained, it will make both iKarma's system and its customers' sites more powerful.

The idea boils down to letting any Web site user leave a rating for any transaction or interaction they've had with the site or business. But because reputation is so important, iKarma also allows site owners to challenge bad ratings. If the person leaving the rating disagrees with the challenge, the bad rating is hidden for 10 days while the two parties work it out, Williams said.

The system also allows companies to take what it calls a "karmic reboot" and offset bad ratings by donating money to charity.

See more CNET content tagged:
reputation, rating, Amazon.com Inc., Florida, eBay Inc.

5 comments

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Karmic Reboot
I have a quick correction about the "Karmic Reboot" feature. Karmic Reboot is the electronic equivalent of moving to another town because you've ruined your reputation in your current one. We believe in the power of redemption. We dont allow users to keep the good, and remove the bad, but they can wipe their slate clean and start over. This preserves the integrety of our ratings. iKarma is designed to be a proactive tool for good businesses and professionals with happy customers who would like to help them grow their business.
Posted by iKarma (2 comments )
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Correction from iKarma CEO Paul Williams
I have a quick correction about the "Karmic Reboot" feature. Karmic Reboot is the electronic equivalent of moving to another town because you've ruined your reputation in your current one. We believe in the power of redemption. We dont allow users to keep the good, and remove the bad, but they can wipe their slate clean and start over. This preserves the integrety of our ratings. iKarma is designed to be a proactive tool for good businesses and professionals with happy customers who would like to help them grow their business.
Posted by iKarma (2 comments )
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hey
that's neat, hopefully it's the real deal.
Posted by chuchucuhi (233 comments )
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Correction Made
I agree that a correction is necessary here, and we are making it as
I write this. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
Posted by Daniel Terdiman (78 comments )
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I use ikarma
I just started using ikarma.com. Fantastic. I have been listed on the site for one week. If you Google "lace yardage" you will come up with my listing under ikarma ON THE FIRST PAGE.

I hope a lot of other web sites use this tool because the more that use it the more popular it will become.

Al Nelson
www.oldeworldelace.com
Posted by Olde_Worlde_Lace (11 comments )
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