This post is obsolete. Our thinking has changed greatly since this post was written, but rather than take it down we’ve left it for posterity.
Why a Score?
As we described in why we built Legit, we believe sharing is the way to a better world. But the rise of the sharing economy is an exciting opportunity with a daunting problem: How can we share with others if we’re not sure we can trust them?
To solve this problem we have designed a score that seeks to answer this question of trust. Other scores exist to measure various aspects of our lives. A Credit score measures fiscal responsibility. A Klout score measures online influence. But no score answers the fundamental question:
“Is this person legit?”
Designing the score.
We designed the Legit score with three fundamental principles in mind:
- Robustness - combine many sources of reputation.
- Honesty - is should be easy to understand and improve.
- Choice - people can improve their score in different ways.
We allow people to connect many sources of reputation as factors in their Legit score. These include social networks like Facebook and Twitter, marketplaces like Ebay and Etsy, sharing sites like Relay Rides and Airbnb, and even funding platforms like Kiva and Kickstarter. Each of these sources provides different insights into whether a person is trustworthy. We make it clear what we’re looking for on these networks and how they have contributed to a person’s score.
Many paths to the same score.
Two people can achieve the same score in different ways. For example, one person may have a large LinkedIn and Twitter following showing they are respected by a wide audience. Another person may have a substantial amount of positive feedback on Ebay and Airbnb. Both of these people may end up with the same score.
This is by design. We feel that despite getting to a score in different ways, both people have the same level of legitimacy. This allows everyone, from celebrities to college students to moms, to achieve a strong Legit score. Each does so by emphasizing the ways they’ve spent time building their reputation.
What goes into the score?
We analyze all the information provided by the accounts a person has linked to their Legit profile. We sort this information into three categories: Identity, Respect, and Karma. The Legit score is a combination of the scores in these categories. Each category sheds light on a different aspect of a person:
Identity seeks to answer the question of who the person is. Are they real? Are they who they say they are? Information that contribute to the identity score:
- Current Job
- How many accounts has the person linked?
- How old are their accounts?
- Does the information from each of their accounts agree?
- and more…
Someone who is open about who they are and whose identity information is corroborated by several established sources will have a high identity score.
Respect determines how many other people know and respect a person. Does the person have a large group of friends, followers, and colleagues? Information considered in the respect score includes:
- and more…
Someone with a strong network of friends, followers, and professional connections will have a high respect score.
Karma attempts to measure how well a person treats other people and the world around them. In short, is this person a good person? This is by far our most diverse (and we think most interesting!) category. Information that contributes to a person’s karma score includes:
- Ebay feedback rating
- Airbnb positive reviews
- Foursquare checkins at certain venues
- Kiva loans and Kickstarter projects backed
- Other reviews and ratings of the person
- and more…
Someone who is highly rated on sites and marketplaces on which they interact and who helps out others will have a high karma score.
So what’s a good score?
This is the human component. Different people need different levels of trust and legitimacy when interacting with others. Additionally, different interactions require different levels of trust. A simple online sale may not require the same scrutiny as the search for a new roommate.
The best way to get a feel for what makes for a good score is to look at your own profile, and your score based on the information you have provided. Then look through other people’s profiles. Does the profile of someone with a 45 give you a feeling of trust? Or do you need the information required for a 65 before you feel comfortable?
After spending some time looking at profiles and scores, you’ll know what scores you feel comfortable with. Once you know that, the score becomes a very effective tool for quickly determining who you will interact with.
That being said, as a rough guideline:
- Any score over 40 is good.
- A score over 60 is quite good.
- A score of 80 or higher is rare and difficult to obtain.