ODR and Online Reputation Systems


by Colin Rule, Harpreet Singh

This chapter is from "Online Dispute Resolution Theory and Practice," Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Ethan Katsh & Daniel Rainey ( Eds.), published, sold and distributed by Eleven International Publishing. The Hague, Netherlands at: www.elevenpub.com.

April 2013


As with any complex system, especially one as enormous and complex as a global reputation system, inaccuracies and fraud can arise, and these issues can result in disagreements between users.

Timely resolution of these disagreements is essential to the continued health and success of any reputation system. If disagreements go unaddressed and inaccuracies are not fairly addressed, they steadily and inevitably undermine trustin the overall reputation system, which can push the system toward irrelevance and abandonment.

This chapter examines the growth of reputation systems and the resolution mechanisms that have evolved to support them. We discuss the legal context reputation systems operate within, and how it differs between North America and Europe. We then examine two reputation systems in depth, one new and one old: a cutting-edge reputation system called SiteJabber, which collects feedback on websites around the globe; and eBay’s feedback system, one of the original online reputation systems, which has collected more than four billion reviews over the last ten years. We analyze the resolution systems utilized on these platforms in some detail, and then draw some conclusions as to what works and what doesn’t in providing redress for reputation systems. We conclude with our projections as to how these systems will need to evolve in the coming years.





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Biography





Colin Rule has worked at the intersection of technology and conflict resolution for the last two decades. He is CEO of Modria.com, an online dispute resolution service provider in Silicon Valley, and a non-resident Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. From 2003 to 2011, he served as eBay and PayPal's first director of Online Dispute Resolution, designing and implementing systems that now resolve more than 60 million disputes each year. Mr. Rule is the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business, published by Jossey-Bass in September 2002. He has presented and trained around the world for organizations including the U.S. Department of State, UNCITRAL, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, as well as teaching at UMass-Amherst, Stanford, Southern Methodist University, and Hastings College of the Law. He has written and been interviewed extensively about the Internet since 1999, with columns and articles appearing in ACResolution, Consensus, Dispute Resolution Magazine, and Peace Review. He holds a master's degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in conflict resolution and technology, a B.A. in peace studies from Haverford College, and he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Eritrea from 1995-1997.


Harpreet Singh is a third year law student at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Before law school,he worked as an electrical engineer in the scientific instrumentation industry. After graduation, Harpreet hopes to pursue a career in intellectual property law specifically in the area of patents because of his passion and curiosity for technology.

The views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc., Mediate.com or of reviewing editors.




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