Reputation lookup via email: Rapleaf
Rapleaf is a neat application which takes an email address and returns an online reputation dashboard based on the owner's participation in online social networks etc. I interviewed Dan Scudder, Product Marketing for Rapleaf, to find out more.
Ken: So how would you describe Rapleaf in a few sentences
Dan: Rapleaf (www.rapleaf.com) is the ultimate email search - you go to Rapleaf.com, enter someone's email address, and Rapleaf returns you reputation information for that person. This includes profile stats, social networks, and feedback left by other users. People use Rapleaf to build trust in others before they deal with them - whether it's hiring, business, or relationships. Our goal is to make it more profitable to be ethical.
Ken: How to you go about establishing someone’s reputation by email?
Dan: When you go to Rapleaf.com, you enter a person's email address and we'll gather all sorts of reputation related information for that given email address. Rapleaf then presents this information in an easy format, which are the profile pages you see on Rapleaf.
Ken: Where do you see the Rapleaf being most used?
Dan: Rapleaf is highly useful in any business environment. I lookup everyone I work with for the first time - Rapleaf helps me connect with them on LinkedIn or view their Amazon Wishlist to get a feel for who the person is. Another example is hiring a babysitter - enter their email into Rapleaf and you can view their MySpace page...and that page might provide you with the information you need to hire (or not hire) the person. Over time, we hope to see people leave feedback on each other directly through Rapleaf, making the world smaller and more trustworthy.
Ken: Can somebody cheat or ‘game’ their reputation?
Dan: Some people do try to game the system. This is why Rapleaf delivers comprehensive information on a given person so that the user can make a better a decision if someone is trustworthy.
Ken: At the start is there a problem that most reputations will be effectively blank?
Dan: Rapleaf gathers information on emails in a matter of minutes. Once you look someone's email up on Rapleaf, we'll return you their social network information and profile stats quite fast (usually within an hour or less).
Ken: When I look at my own just created Rapleaf reputation I can see that it does not yet tell an enquirer everything they would want to know about my reputation - will my reputation evolve and in what way?
Dan: Rapleaf provides tools to manage your reputation to allow it to evolve over time. You can embed your Rapleaf badge on your website, email signatures, etc, and collect feedback from the people you deal with. Also, by rating others, you encourage them to rate you back. That feedback will be visible on your Rapleaf profile, and in time, will start to shape your overall reputation when combined with your profile stats and social network information.
Ken: I see you calculate my email ‘domain reputation’ – how do you do this in broad terms - I don’t want you to give away any secrets!
Dan: It's based on the traceability of the domains and several other factors. For example, @yahoo.com is easy to get and hard to trace back to any specific person, where an email at a company is a harder-to-get domain and therefore more traceable.
Ken: What do you think is unique about Rapleaf?
Dan: Rapleaf is the only email-based reputation lookup. In that sense, we are also a form of a people search engine. You can quickly get a wealth of information on someone that you deal with, and that information is truly unique to that email. Although there are people search engines, no other platform has emerged that takes an email-based approach to learning about people.
Ken: What is the current status of Rapleaf?
Dan: Rapleaf is just over a year old and we're always adding new features and functionality to make the site more valuable for everyone. In the coming weeks, you'll see the addition of new features that make Rapleaf powerful and useful in everyday business.
Ken: And if people want more info on Rapleaf?
Dan: They should check us out at www.rapleaf.com
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