Karma, which emerges from private beta today, is using review data from Airbnb, FaceBook, and others to build a universal online reputation system.


Peer-to-peer marketplaces like Airbnb, eBay, and work by establishing a bond of trust between strangers. Each has developed its own system to vet and verify users and hold them accountable for their transactions — a means of giving them a reputation. But as many newcomers to such marketplaces can attest, building trust can be difficult when reputation is based on transaction history. Karma, a new online reputation startup, hopes to make that easier by aggregating users' online reputations and scoring them based on the quality and quantity of reviews and transactions.

“A couple of years ago with the explosion of the sharing economy we noticed most of these platforms were built around reputation,” co-founder and CEO Zach Schiff-Abrams told BuzzFeed News. “But all of these platforms have their own siloed reputation systems. There's no way to transition your reputation from one platform to another. We wanted to break down those traditional silos.”

Karma — which leaves private beta today — gives its users a kind of pervasive online reputation compiled from their activity on various social media and community marketplace accounts. With its users' permission, Karma accesses their profiles on sites like eBay, Airbnb, and Facebook and creates a reputation score based on the quality and quantity of the reviews associated with them, as well as profile activity. Karma users can raise their scores by adding more social media accounts to their Karma profiles or by receiving a “vouch” or testimonial from another user — or giving one themselves.

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