2010+ VW growth areas Part Three: Reputation Management
As the use of virtual worlds for business purposes increases, as well as the general P2P trade of virtual goods and services, we expect the concept of Reputation Management to grow. By this, we mean being able to determine the trustworthiness or ‘peer-rating’ of avatars.
This is a field needing a solution because of the increased usage of virtual worlds in B2B/enterprise as well as many people choosing to have alter-ego’s or alternative identities in virtual worlds. People that create alternative identities in virtual worlds are classified as Immersionalists whereas users who view their avatar as an extension of their real world persona are called Augmentalists.
The graph shown right may highlight the presence of Immersionalists in virtual worlds.
It’s based on Second Life data and also factors in the roles that Innovators and Early Adopters played in the initial growth of Second Life. In this context, as the number of accounts per unique resident grew (we assume from the presence of Early Adopters) then the users actually had on average more than one account – perhaps indicating a primary Augmentalist-based account and a secondary Immersionalist account.
For businesses and trade-based users of virtual worlds, being able to assess the reputation of an avatar, prior to interacting with them is important – think of it as an Ebay rating for virtual worlds, a score based on other user/avatar feedback.
The full KZero report, Virtual Worlds 2010+ can be ordered here.