Customer Review Platform on Blockchain

Customer Review Platforms are said (by many philosophy experts) to be a new, efficient way of interaction between human beings. Maybe you’ve never thought this way, but it makes us more similar to how ants communicate, by leaving message trails that help us (or organizations) in decision making.

Old reviewing methods are too biased. Reports generated by managers to their superior directors on a company of course will always tend to show how their department got better in a certain period. Otherwise they would be fired.

Also, when put into a government or company perspective, when the goal is to review how a citizen or customer sees a service or product, it does not make sense in the current era we live in to offer customer service phone numbers. Neither Twitter or facebook customer messaging service. That individual, one to one service generates more frustration than benefits, because it does not scale. You can’t offer an efficient personal customer service to every resident of a city, neither to all of your company’s customers. It just doesn’t work. Even if your government or company had the biggest and most efficient customer call center, it still would leave a big part of the people insatisfied as the problem resides on the model, not on size or speed.

Recent practice of using Customer Review Platforms that are based on 1-5 stars method reviewing or just “like/dislike” are different by approach. Although users vote individually about a product or service quality (as a citizen or customer), the government or company is able to analyse the sum of all individual reviews at once. So decision making will be much more efficient as more people can be benefitted at once (rather than individually).

Also, by tracking the results over a period of time (by analysing customer review history), it would be possible to see which decisions brought the best results.

There is a great brazilian philosopher called Carlos Nepomuceno (who bases his research in the Toronto School ideas and in other philosophers like Marshall McLuhan and Pierre Levy). Nepomuceno’s methodology could be summarized with a simple chart that describes how such a Collaboration Platform should be designed:

The Collaborator is the user (customer or citizen) that reviews the items available in the platform (articles, products, services) by evaluating them with a rating: Stars from 1 to 5, or likes/dislikes.

The Curator is the government/company that makes the items (products/services) available in the platform to be reviewed (although in more advanced platforms this role can also be done by Collaborators). The main role of the Curator is to take decisions based on what the platform dashboards show about how an item is being perceived by the platform users (this way he can benefit the highest number of people in a given time).

The “Robot” is the algorythm: an app, desktop application, API, (smart contract, blockchain…) and everything else that is part of an automated, digital process. Its the “medium” through which all other platform participants will interact with it.

This constitutes what is commonly known as a 3.0 solution: a context where the physical presence of the owner/governant is not required to run the platform. It can be fully automated so decision is not be taken by a single human being, but by what is the will of majority of all other platform users (the people who are most interested in improving the services/products).

We can think of it this way: Imagine two workers. One is a cow milker. The other one is a beekeeper. Now, if both gets ill. What will happen? There is going to be lack of milk. But there is not going to be lack of honey!

What this means is that a 3.0 Collaboration Platform is self-suficient regarding its functioning. Services and products, as they go being evaluated by the users, rise in importance (and get more financial resources to be produced), or, otherwise, if having a bad evaluation, are deprecated.

You can think of it as a bad-reviewed UBER driver not being shown in first positions of a query by a person looking for a cab. The platform itself filters the good ones from the bad ones.

That being said, I would like to know your opinion about an idea for Tezos. Although the benefits of such platforms are indisputable, there can still be ill-intentioned acts towards manipulating results on reviews.

And, guess what, this is an area where blockchain offers the perfect solution: One cannot do this. So…

What do you think about building a reviewing system (or platform) consisting of a gateway to public a review and a dashboard to see the reviews as a summary, per period, in Tezos? We could have the following features:

  • Deploy an item to be reviewed.
  • Review an item (stars / like, dislike).
  • See results (sum) by period.

The solution could have different pre-built front-ends so people could put them in web pages, phone apps, etc. Also, there could be pre-built dashboards or even APIs so people could see results in a beautiful, organized, graphical manner.

The main difference here is that data would be stored in a Tezos blockchain smart contract. To be able to vote (review) something, one should have a Tezos address (or at least the company offering the review app should have it). This way we would probably have less manipulation on results. Maybe the review should be charged, so it becomes costly for a company to manipulate results.

You may be thinking, “why the hell a company or government would pay to have its products/services reviewed by consumers/citizens?”. Well, they already do it for decades. Millions are spent in market research, so companies can deliver better products. In fact we could build something that would cost less to interested players.

If anyone from Tezos Community finds this viable and is interested in building such thing, let’s talk. I can’t do this alone, but if we work together we can make something huge.

I need to know , though, your opinions. Does it makes any sense?

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I think it makes a lot of sense. I think there are a few things that stand out that could make this very beneficial for companies as well. What if the companies simply created “tickets” by sending codes to users that they could input into the company website that would activate the actual ticket and grant access to the voting platform.

The company is only responsible for the cost to create a ticket and pay the fee required to execute the smart contract (say .03 Xtz) Then, the system could then compile the information and store it on chain. However, I feel like this might take a lot of programming. Companies spend billions to be able to track every aspect of the consumer report. They would want to know what times the customers are happier with their purchases, what geographic location they reside, gender, age, financial status, etc. etc. So privacy would be a concern if it’s stored on chain. They would also want to be able to pull the individual analytics across the field to find points of strength and weaknesses. Would they be able to break out and compare from period to period? How long would the information be stored and how much storage would a user like Walmart require for the next fifty years?

I think it’s very doable but there may need to be some discussion with some marketing experts as to what and how much data needs to be tracked.

Dear perfectparadox,

Thanks for your kind reply. I am thinking about something more basic at a first moment, just allowing people to “vote” for any item by using a rating method, like stars. This would be done by using some kind of plug-in or add-on that could run on web-pages, phone-apps. Maybe this could be free to the users (or charged a small fee). And for companies, they would have to pay a higher value to make the items available and/or to see the data. Companies would be able to select the time period they wish to analyse and compare different periods.

All data would be stored on smart contract, so the idea is to store the less possible. Or to use a hybrid model, like storing hashes of an IPFS file.

The idea is to create a reverse Oracle, like our friend @arrijabba proposed in the other topic Oracles on Tezos. So we are going to have multiple sources feeding information to a single smart contract and this would be the source of information to companies.

We could build a digital karma system for users so individuals with higher karma scores would have its reviews considered more accutate.

So, in summary, the idea is building an N-to-N Oracle system, rather than a 1-N. We should head to decentralization, not keep centralized. To me a “trusted source” for an Oracle is a poor concept according to the theory I’ve presented here.

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Okay, yeah, that sounds good then! Since most of us have our data tracked by large corporations anyway, the consumer could volunteer information, IE the survey, and each time their data is analyzed they could get a small fees. It would encourage people to leave feedback and still have some semblance of privacy.

I love the Karma idea. (think only upvotes) I think if you have a “rating system” that there could be some legal implications. Above you used the example of Uber. Uber drivers have all agreed to have their driver rating posted but with the idea of N-to-N once the information is out, it’s final. Say Microsoft decided to have every worker leave a negative review of a new startup that they found “threatening” and ruin the smaller company’s reputation so they could acquire the brand at a lower cost. Well if the smaller company goes to court and it’s found that Microsoft is liable for malpractice or slander, would there be a way to remove the bogus reviews? If you run it off a “only upvotes” like twitter I think it would be a much better approach and I assume much easier mathematically for computing resources.

Sorry, I’m just playing a little devil’s advocate here and I’m not trying to be critical at all. I think it’s a fantastic idea.

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What about parking meter payments? Some places still require you to drop money in an envelope through a slot while standing in a dark alley. Others have switched to app pay that I imagine would be fairly expensive with credit card fees. Building an app that would could be integrated into a company’s existing system would be very useful and very good for the ecosystem. You could even have an option to auto extend if time is running out and you can’t make it back to your car to pay. There are some apps that you scan a QR code so if you built a system to partner with meter payments or cities like New York and Atlanta, you would be the most helpful crypto developer on the planet to a ridiculous amount of people.

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