Google just received yet another patent: (from the Gov. Patent office page)
United States Patent 7,827,052
Scott , et al. November 2, 2010
Systems and methods for reputation management
A reputation management system, method and computer readable storage medium assigns reputation scores to various types of entities including, but not limited to people, products, advertisers and merchants. A reputation function is based on a directed graph including the reviewers and the reviews. The nodes in the graph represent the reviewers and the reviews and the links in the graph represent the ratings. The reputation function is iteratively solved until a convergence condition is met. Prior to convergence, when a stability condition is met, the reputation function is modified so as to remove portions of the function corresponding to nodes with negative reputations. Upon convergence, reputation values for at least the reviewers and reviews corresponding to nodes that have not been removed from the reputation function are generated.
It seems that they are going to Rate reviewers based on how many reviews they give, weather they are all negative, all positive or balanced. How will this effect us. If we ask someone to write a review and it is their first one will it show up lower on the page. Will the stars not have as much validity? If some one is spamming us because they bought a used car and discovered that the reason they saved thousands was it wasn't new so they are cutting and pasting negative reviews all over the net, will those reviews then be removed? Interesting reading here folks and something to keep an eye on. (Like we don't have enough already.)
How Google may Manage Reputations for Reviewers and Raters
By Bill Slawski, on November 2, 2010, at 4:04 pm
Do reviews of businesses and products at Google influence how well those might show up in Place searches or product searches? It’s possible that they may, and a bigger question might be how much weight might Google give to each review that it sees. An answer, in part, to that may depend upon a reputation score associated with the people leaving reviews.
People do go online in search of reviews and ratings for businesses and products, and the search engines are trying to provide that information when and where they think it might be useful. Starred ratings are also showing in Google’s Web search with Rich Snippets, and the presence of ratings may influence whether or not someone clicks through a snippet from Google’s search results.
A recent change to how Google shows search results in Web search may mean that if Google thinks you are performing a search where local search results are appropriate, then Google may show those local results as if they were organic search listings. Google refers to this change as Place Search, and it can have an impact upon the amount of visitors a site may receive, and possibly increase the number of contacts for a business listed in those results.
A patent from Google granted today, Systems and methods for reputation management (US Patent 7,827,052), takes a closer look at the people who provide reviews and ratings for businesses and products, and describes a way of creating a reputation score for those reviewers modeled after Google’s PageRank algorithm.
The patent was originally filed in 2005. It’s possible that Google is using an updated version of the approach described in the patent, or adopted an entirely different approach. The patent, as it’s written, seems to apply primarily to reviews and ratings that people might make to Google, but could potentially be expanded to include reviews and ratings from other sites as well.
Google has looked more deeply at just ratings, and last year, I wrote about a Google patent filing that describes How Google May Rate Raters, which seems to share a few ideas with this newly granted patent, but looks at ratings provided on sites other than just Google.