A solution to sketchy online encounters, Karma launches beta

Written by Patrick Hechinger
Published on May. 19, 2015
A solution to sketchy online encounters, Karma launches beta

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Since its inception, people have held a certain paranoia that the internet is tracking their every move. From unruly Facebook photos to inappropriate Tweets, someone’s online miscues can haunt their life and their career.

In this overly-skeptic online world that tallies a person’s public regrets, it's finally time to begin counting successes as well.  

Karma, an LA-based social verification system, is launching into public beta today. The platform currently supports Airbnb, Etsy, DogVacay, eBay, Turo (formerly RelayRides) and Vayable and is able to provide social verification through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. The user is able to select which sites Karma has access to, allowing the system to calculate your reviews and history into a quantity that affects your overall Karma Score.

With today’s launch, Karma is also adding support for Craigslist, which will be the first way to measure user reputation on the marketplace.

With Karma, each supported site has a specific algorithm that quantifies a user’s history, including star-rankings and keywords in reviews. This data is then accumulated into a 0 to 100 score.

For example, below is the abnormally low Karma Score of a certain Built In writer who has only linked his Facebook-

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But there is still hope — the more sites a user connects, the higher their Karma score rises.

Additionally, the site has “vouches” that can be given from one Karma user to another to boost their score. Each user can only give out six in order to maintain the integrity of the “vouch.”

Karma Scores and reviews can be viewed on the Karma website but by downloading the browser extension, other user’s scores will appear as color-coded numbers on the supported sites, making it easy to verify someone at a quick glance of a Craigslist ad or an AirBnb posting.

“We are trying to breakdown the silos and start connecting the dots of online reputation,” said Zach Schiff-Abrams, co-founder and CEO of Karma. “From the Airbnb host with no reviews, to the avid Craigslist furniture seller with a dozen listings, we’re filling in the holes that exist in the reputations of those interacting online by connecting all of their digital presences.”

Schiff-Abrams was inspired to create the site after he and his wife struggled to build a reputation on the dog boarding site, DogVacay. He and his wife were initially ignored by other users because they were new and unreviewed. They had a strong reputation on AirBnb but grew frustrated they couldn’t showcase it across the sites.

“We’ve focused on making the platform easy to use, too, with our browser extension,” said Schiff-Abrams in a statement. “By easily alleviating the hesitancy consumers have in using a service or purchasing goods online, Karma makes it easy and less intimidating to take online connections offline.”

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