The Ultimate Wisdom of Crowds Platform by Clupedia
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The Ultimate Wisdom of Crowds Platform by Clupedia



The wisdom of crowds – the collective opinion of people about something – is obviously quite valuable, and arguably, often more valuable than the opinion of a single expert, even though ...

The wisdom of crowds – the collective opinion of people about something – is obviously quite valuable, and arguably, often more valuable than the opinion of a single expert, even though admittedly, it is not always the case.

If properly harnessed, the wisdom of crowds has the potential of becoming one of the most ubiquitous applications because it applies to anything and to anyone.



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    The Ultimate Wisdom of Crowds Platform by Clupedia The Ultimate Wisdom of Crowds Platform by Clupedia Document Transcript

    • Clues from Crowds White Paper The Ultimate Wisdom of Crowds Platform
    • White Paper The Ultimate Wisdom of Crowds Platform Dr. David Saad Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) April 2008 NoticeThe information contained in this document reflects Clupedia’s current view of the subject matter discussed herein as of the date ofpublication. This document is subject to changes and, therefore, it shall not be construed as a commitment by Clupedia who does notguarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in this document after the date of publication.THIS WHITE PAPER IS PROVIDED “AS IS” FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. CLUPEDIA MAKES NO WARRANTIES,EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, WITH RESPECT TO THIS DOCUMENT, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES,INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE,AND NON-INFRINGEMENT.Clupedia may have patents, patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property rights covering the contents of thisdocument, and Clupedia and its licensors retain all right, title, and interest in and to such intellectual property rights. Except as expresslyprovided in a written agreement between you and Clupedia, the furnishing of this document does not grant you any license, express orimplied, to any such patents, patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property of Clupedia.Clupedia is a trademark of Clupedia Corporation protected by the laws of the United States and other countries. This white paper maycontain some references to trademarks owned by entities other than Clupedia, and such trademarks are the property of their respectiveowners. 2
    • 1. Summary................................................................... 4 2. Needs......................................................... 6 3. Current Solutions................................ 13 4. Proposed Solution........................... 14 . Future Solutions.............................. 26 6. Users............................................... 29 7. Conclusion.............................................. 318. References................................................................ 32 3
    • Summary1. SummaryThe wisdom of crowds – the collective opinion of people about something – is obviously quite valuable, and arguably,often more valuable than the opinion of a single expert, even though admittedly, it is not always the case.If properly harnessed, the wisdom of crowds has the potential of becoming one of the most ubiquitous applicationsbecause it applies to anything and to anyone. An ultimate platform that covers all the different functions of the wisdom of crowds along with a comprehensive set of features that address the needs of all constituents; controlled by the crowd for the crowd with a sophisticated meritocracy system; wrapped up with a very rich user experience; and delivered with great elegance and convenience at any point of interest, from any source, on any device, and in any format; will have a dramatic transformative impact on both the online world as well as the mobile sphere. 4
    • Currently, the wisdom of crowds is limited to just products and services. It is also limited to just ratings and reviews,expressed in just text format, manipulated by biased opinions, and accessible at a destination website. Well, that isnot exactly a “wisdom”, and is hardly from the “crowd”. For example, you would have to perform some impressive“searching gymnastics” in order to collect the wisdom of the crowds about abortion, recession, dieting, car pooling,global warming, United Nations, Madonna, etc. Assuming that you manage to avoid drowning in all the clutter, youmay luckily find an article here or a blog there, but whatever you may find would most probably be limited and tainted,not to mention irrelevant.After defining the needs of the different constituents including consumers, influencers, marketers, and advertising net-works, and describing the limitations of the current solutions, we proposed an ultimate platform capable of changingconsumers’ behavior, and making our digital world (both online and mobile) much more connected, convenient, collabo-rative, and informative. This proposed platform supports: • All functions related to the wisdom of crowds including clueing, defining, annotating, tagging, linking, bookmarking, surfing, and blogging. • All types of opinions, referred to as clues, including ratings, reviews, pros, cons, recommendations to consum- ers, and suggestions to manufacturers. • All subjects to be clued, from products to politics and everything in between. • All formats including text, rich text, audio, and video. • All devices including toolbars, widgets, websites, and mobile units. • All sources from which clues can be aggregated. • A meritocracy system established by the crowd for the crowd. • A reward system which encourages participation and cements loyalty. • Propagation of clues from somewhere, anywhere, to everywhere. Such instant diffusion of opinions changes consumers’ behavior and transforms the current advertising model from being property-centric to word-centric. Thus, context-driven ads travel alongside clues, and are no longer restricted to be placed at specific proper- ties.Furthermore, the proposed platform offers industrial robustness with high scalability, reliability, fault-tolerance, loadbalancing, multi-threading, privacy, and security, which are all achieved with a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)diverging away from the conventional 3-tier architecture necessary for large distributed systems. The justification ofthe SOA architecture is the need to offer an open platform which includes an Application Programming Interface (API)based on web services which allow independent developers to integrate their own functions within the platform.Finally, with all such properties, the proposed platform is well-positioned to monetize the wisdom of crowds, whicheventually secures its legitimacy.Despite such an ambitious blueprint, the proposed ultimate platform, even though ideal for the time being, is not withoutits own limitations, which led us to propose future developments. 
    • Needs2. NeedsIn the real world, like packed animals, people rely on each other to survive and thrive. We count on other people’srecommendations to help us make decisions. Imitating and herding is a safe Darwinian bet that is wired in our genes.Whether it is chosen or imposed, and whether it is a sense of belonging or the desire to be productive by cutting throughthe clutter, we are infected by memes that define who we are. Those memes range from gestures that we make,expressions that we use, political candidates that we elect, food that we eat, songs that we sing, cloths that we wear,cars that we drive, books that we read, websites that we visit, etc. Such behavior is so ingrain in us that we carry it, notjust in our real world, but the online one as well.Moreover, herds feed on themselves. As a herd gets larger, the probability of theherd of getting even larger and larger is very likely. Putting it differently, the“rich often gets richer”. This phenomenon is referred to as the “SmallWorld” in network theory. 6
    • The rational goes something like this: • If so many people do “X”, then they can’t be all wrong. • If so and so chose “Y”, then they must be right. • Nobody ever got burned for buying “X” from “Y”. • Better be judged by a jury than a judge who has 0% chance to get it wrong despite his/her legal experience and expertise, while jurists have the opportunity to debate their differences and reach the right judgment with a higher probability than a single judge. • If you run into a group of people on the street who are all looking up the sky, the more there are people looking up, the higher probability that you would do the same. • Nobody has figured out yet how fashion trends start and last, but out of the blue, staring at each other, we realize all of a sudden that we are all wearing jeans. • Financial markets go up and down based on which direction the herd is heading and not necessarily based on fundamentals.The wisdom of crowds, which consists of the collective opinions of people, is often more right than the opinion of a singleexpert. Indeed, the diversity of opinions within crowds is what makes the wisdom of crowds works in the majority ofcases. Arguably, our intuition is often influenced, consciously or otherwise, by the wisdom of crowds. That is not to saythat the opinions of experts should be ignored – far from it. For example, if you need to have a surgery, relying on thewisdom of crowds might be the kiss of death.At the very beginning of its existence, the online world was spongingbehaviors from the real world. As the online world was getting largerin breadth and depth, and as the next billion of web citizens join thedigital revolution, the roles will gradually reverse – the online worldwill be influencing the real world as to what’s in and what’s out, andwhat’s hot and what’s not because the online world is becomingincreasingly more convenient, connected, collaborative,informative, influential, and measurable. In short, the wisdomof crowds has already entered the mainstream and is about tobecome one of the most ubiquitous applications. Therefore,there is a need for an ultimate platform that can harness thewisdom of crowds and deliver it to people on a silver platter withgreat ease, convenience, elegance, and style. 7
    • 2.1. Needs of ConsumersOn one hand, people are hungry for knowledge, yet onanother hand, they are drowning in a sea of irrelevantinformation. Sniffing through such clutter has becomequite challenging.Assume that you are interested in a brand new product.What you don’t know about this new product might N eeds of Consumershurt you. After reading few brochures and watchingdemonstrations from the manufacturer, you now wantto get the opinions of people who are using it.Your very first logical step is to search for the productusing your favorite search engine only to discoverhundred of web pages that includes the name of theproduct and its description but not necessarily anyopinions of people who may have used it. Frustratedafter visiting few of those web pages, you give up onsearch engines and you make a trip to your friendlyreview site near you where more hazards await you: The product may or may not be listed at the review site. If it is listed, it may or may not have any reviews. If there are reviews, they are just reviews and not any other type of opinions. Furthermore, those reviews, if any, are from reviewers from just that one site (hardly the crowd).Disappointed again, you try your final luck with blogsonly to discover that there are over 100 million of themamong which 13 million are updated on regular basis.If you are lucky to nail down a relevant blog, you wouldstill need to search for the posting in that blog thatcorresponds to the product.Well, that’s a lot of “ifs”, searches, interruptions,twists, and turns. Even in the best scenario where theinformation desired is available, it is certainly not easilyor conveniently accessible, if at all.It would be quite helpful if all opinions, of all types, inall formats, from all users, from the entire World WideWeb, representing truly the crowd, come to consumers,where they are at, listed, sorted, grouped, and filteredin whichever way they like. 8
    • 2.2. Needs of the OpinionatedUsers’ behavior on the web has changed drasticallyin the last couple of years. Users have become muchmore vocal than ever before. They are engaging byexpressing their opinions. According to the PEW Project, of the Opinionatedabout 35 million Americans, representing 26% of the USweb population, have used some kind of a rating orreview system. NeedsIf you are an opinionated rater, reviewer, blogger,critic, or pundit, you would like to be heard, obviously.However, there is so much commotion nowadays on theweb, that it is very hard to rise above all that noise.When you put an effort and take the time to reviewsomething, you obviously would like people to read youropinion. You can be as vocal as you want but areyou being heard? With over 100 million blogs amongwhich 13 million are updated on regular basis, chancesare, you are not.Even though your review might be posted at a popularreview site, it is still just one site that people would haveto go to. Similarly, if you post your opinion onto yourblog, nobody will hear about it unless you are capableof attracting visitors to your blog. In other words, whenyou post your opinion in a centralized location such asa review site or your blog, you need to pull visitors toyour location. However, in a world of “instant satisfaction” in which convenience rules, and where the competition is only a click away, you need to push your opinion to where consumers are at, and not just be content to pull people to where you’re at.In addition, your opinion is imprisoned within the wallsof the web site where you submitted your review. Onlythose who go to that specific website where your reviewwas submitted will be able to read your review. You aremissing out on a lot of people who are somewhere elseon the web who might also be interested in your opinion.Hence, the exposure of your review is typically quitelimited even when it resides at a highly visited website. 9
    • 2.3. Needs of MarketersAdvertising still rules marketers’ world despite anoticeable interest in alternative means of marketingsuch as viral marketing, buzz marketing, word-of-mouthmarketing, grassroots marketing, guerrilla marketing, Needs of Marketerspermission marketing, conversational marketing, socialmarketing, search marketing, affiliation marketing, etc. Marketers know that half of their advertising budget goes down the drain but they don’t know which half.In 2007 alone, there were about $20 billion worth ofadvertising that floated on the web. Such staggeringamount of spending on advertising generated adeafening noise to the point where consumers havetuned out. What are the chances for consumers tonotice an ad, let alone click on it, especially if the ad isunrelated to the content being viewed or not relevant totheir interest?!!!Furthermore, advertising requires repetition, and a lotof it, before the message starts to sink into consumers’mind. Therefore, advertising crawls at a low pace ofconversion at a time when product life cycles are rapidlyshrinking. On the other hand, when viral marketingworks, it explodes at a lightning speed. The growth isnot linear but exponential. Information about productsgenerated by the crowd such as opinions, ratings,reviews, recommendation, and suggestions are far morevaluable to potential buyers than information supplied bymarketers of the product in a form of ads or brochures.However, viral marketing is much harder to execute thanadvertising. Considering the fact that marketers like tocontrol while viruses spread out of control, the term “viralmarketing” is an oxymoron. The more viral marketingis controlled the more contrived it becomes, and theless likely it will succeed. There is a difference betweencontrolling and fostering, and between manipulatingand nurturing. With viral marketing, marketers mustlearn how to pass control to customers, which wouldbe far better than customers taking control away frommarketers.The new marketing paradigm shift from broadcastingmedia to conversational social media is supposed to takemarketers away from targeted messages to engaging inmeaningful conversation. 10
    • 2.4. Needs of Advertising NetworksThe current paradigm used by Advertising Networksrelies heavily on the supply of online properties whereads can be placed based on certain criteria specifiedby advertisers. sEven though there are far more publishers than thereare advertisers, however, there are not enough goodpublishers with relevant content that matches ads available N eeds of Ad Networkin a particular inventory of Advertising Networks such asCommission Junction, DoubleClick, Google, LinkShare,ValueClick, etc.Generally speaking, the more ads are targetted toa specific audience, the higher probability for ads tobe consumated, and hence, the higher CPM rate theycommand. That is the main reason why TargettedAdvertisising Netwroks typically have higher profitmargins compared to Blind Advertsing Networks orRepresentative Advertising Networks. As a result, agood chuck of ads have low CPM rates resulting intolow profit margins to Advertising Networks. By targeting their ads, Advertising Networks can increase ther CPM rates, and enhance the perforamnce of their customers’ ads, which result into higher ROI for advertisers and higher profit margins to Advertising Networks.The expectations of advertisers – large and small alike– who use Advertising Networks to place their ads areoften unmet. Advertising Netwroks are vulnerable tothe supply & demand for, not just any properties wherethey can place their ads onto, but relevant ones wherethere is a higher probability that ads will be clicked onbecause they are either context or behavioral driven.Thus, Advertising Networks are seeking alternatives toserve their customers’ ads, and increase their customers’satisfaction. 11
    • 2.5. Needs of CompaniesBack to basics – happy customers are companies’ bestfriends. They are in a unique position to influenceprospects based on their experience with the product.Moreover, if companies can turn happy customers intoevangelists or brand ambassadors willing to promotetheir product through their feedback and testimonialsthen those companies can expect the highest return on Ne eds of Companiestheir investment. Companies need to empower their corporate website with feedback capability and testimonials from their evangelists. They need to leverage their brand and their investment in their corporate website to cement loyalty and generate more revenues.Specifically, companies have the need to: • Collect opinions, ratings, reviews, recommendations, and suggestions from their own customers from anywehere on the web or from their corporate website where they could be reading about their products/services; and • Offer feedback and testimonials back to potential customers who might be anywhere on the web reading about their products/services, especially to those visiting their corporate website.Loyalty is not a right, it must be earned. It used to bethat it was enough to offer a good product or serviceto earn customers’ loyalty, but not anymore, especiallywhen competitors are only a click away. 12
    • Current Solutions3. Current SolutionsCurrent solutions to generating and retrieving opinions are inadequate due to the following limitations: • Tools are fragmented lacking integration among the different type of opinions that could be expressed in a form of a rating, voting, reviewing, recommending, bookmarking, linking, tagging, annotating, referring, sharing, or blogging. The lack of integration of all those different forms of opinions makes it hard to collect the wisdom of crowds. • Ratings and reviews are limited to products, even though blogs include opinions about anything including social issues, politics, religions, sports, people, animals, etc. Almost all, if not all, reviews websites, and aggregators of reviews, are strictly about products and some limited services. • All opinions are expressed in text. In a world of instant gratification and constant entertainment, audios and videos rule, especially that high bandwidth is nowadays readily available in most places. • Limited to one or two functions at best. When . it comes down to opinions, people engage in several functions such as reviewing, annotating, blogging, linking, bookmaking, tagging, and surfing. • Opinions are limited to a website or to whatever an aggregator can scrap. Reviews at a particular website are limited to the opinions of reviewers on that website. However, typically, products, especially popular ones, can be found at many other websites. Reviews of a product at a website are a far cry from the real wisdom of the crowds about this product. Recently, aggregators of reviews crawl many different websites to present a more complete picture of the total opinion of the crowd. Despite such effort, current aggregation algorithms are neither accurate nor complete regardless of vendors’ claims. Thus, users are not really getting the inside scoop. • Limited propagation and diffusion of opinions. Ratings, reviews, and even blogs are limited by the walls of their own website. If bloggers are interested in propagating or diffusing widely their opinion or idea, they have no choice but to generate traffic to their blog. Thus, it is a pull paradigm that encourages people to visit someone’s website or blog, versus a push approach which allows instant broadcast of an opinion from anywhere to everywhere. • Lack of meritocracy, reliability, and accountability. Anonymity on the web is a double-edged sword. Many reviews are either anonymous or under fake aliases. It is very easy to hype opinions in any direction - positive or negative. Credibility of opinions established by the crowd is critical to the survival of such peer- production system. In other words, with User Generated Content, conventional editorial or censorship is not adequate. The capability of having a self-policed community is critical to the survival of that community. 13
    • Proposed Solutions4. Proposed SolutionThe proposed solution goes beyond just addressing all the limitations found in current solutions. It is an elegant,comprehensive, and integrated platform that properly covers the needs for generating, retrieving, harnessing, nurturing,measuring, analysing, and managing the wisdom of crowds.4.1. The Meta WebThe web has grown so much that it includes hundreds of billions of pages in which we are all drowning in. Some of theinformation published on the web is good, some of it is bad, and a lot of it is irrelevant to a particular person’s needs.Furthermore, anyone can nowadays publish anything. Hence, the quality of information has been deteriorating andwould continue to do so unless checks and balances are introduced.The sheer magnitude of the web no longer allows for some kind of an editorial team (no matter how large) to controlthe content being published. The, and only way, is to facilitate and encourage the online community to police itself byintroducing a comprehensive meritocracy system that judges content and authors based on the wisdom of crowds.As a result, the meta web cuts through all the clutter and makes the current web much more informative, collaborative,connected, and convenient. 14
    • 4.2. FunctionsThe ideal platform must provide all functions related to the wisdom of crowds including: • Clueing: The capability of expressing a clue which can be a rating, review, pros, cons, recommendations to others, suggestions to manufacturers, descriptions, and definitions. • Tagging: The capability of assigning tags or categories to items for the purpose of offering social searching and social surfing. Generally speaking, tags are preferred over taxonomies or folksonomies because they are easier to use, they support multiple tags for an item without having to create multiple clues, they are more scalable and expandable, and they cost much less to maintain. • Surfing: The capability of surfing the web based on suggestions derived from clues and tags from crowds. • Blogging: The capability of automatically posting a clue onto a blog. • Linking: The capability of linking items and web pages together which results into a new web which is far more connected, convenient, collaborative, and informative. • Bookmarking: The capability of saving and sharing web pages as favorites under specified categories. • Annotating: The capability of attaching notes to web pages and items and sharing them with others. 1
    • 4.3. SubjectsThe ideal platform must allow users to express their opinionsabout, not just an entire web page, but also about anyword(s) in a web page by simply being able to highlightand then clue. Furthermore, opinions must not be limitedto products or services, but about anything and everything– from products to politics and everything in betweenincluding people, companies, nations, places, food, music,politics, religions, social issues, animals, weather, activities,ideas, theories, etc.4.4. TypesThe ideal platform must provide all types of opinionsincluding ratings, reviews, pros, cons, recommendationsto users, and suggestions to manufacturers. The systemmust allow users to select one or several of those differentways of expressing their opinion in a single clue. Thus,users can be very brief by just rating, or very elaborate byreviewing, recommending, and suggesting. Like unifiedmessaging where different types of messages such asvoice mail, e-mail, or fax messages are saved in a singleinbox, the platform must support a single integrated cluethat includes one or several types of opinions.4.5. FormatsThe ideal platform must support clues expressed not justin text, but also in rich text, and even in audio or video.As high bandwidth, high definition (HD), and high-endauthoring/editing tools become more accessible, thewisdom of crowds will be increasingly more expressed andcaptured in videos. 16
    • 4.6. SourcesThe ideal platform must allow users to express their opinions natively within theplatform as well as aggregate opinions from other systems such as shoppingsites, review sites, blogs, bulletin boards, and portals, in order to offerthe true wisdom of crowds.4.7. DevicesThe ideal platform must allow users to engage from any device including: • Toolbar A toolbar embedded within a browser must provide the mechanism for users to generate and retrieve opinions from any point of interest. For example, if you are reading an article about a topic from somewhere, anywhere, you should be able to either express your opinion, or get the opinions of others without having to go anywhere or search for anything. • Website A global website must provide a central location where opinions can be generated, retrieved, and analyzed. In fact, such global website could be the aggregate of a public website where clues can be created generically for any item, and many corporate websites where clues can be created for specifically items that belong to the corresponding corporate websites. • Mobile A mobile device must allow users to generate and retrieve opinions about whatever interests them in real life. For example, imagine waiting in line to see a movie in a theater, or to purchase a book from a bookstore, or to buy a CD from a music store. Before you spend your money, wouldn’t you like to receive clues on your mobile? Similarly, after watching a movie, you should be able to rate the movie on your mobile, or even better, take a video of yourself expressing your opinion about the movie, and post your video on the web for the whole word to see. Such application is likely to be one of the most ubiquitous applications that truly exploit and marries the power of the web and mobile computing.4.8. PrivacyClues can be: • Private: only you can access them. • Semi-private: only those users that you named can access them. • Semi-public: anyonve can access them except those whom you specified. • Public: anyone can access them. 17
    • 4.9. MeritocracyThe ideal platform must be able to safeguard the integrity ofthe wisdom of crowds by recognizing valid opinions, whichinclude positive, neutral, or even negative reviews, aswell as invalid opinions, which include incomprehensible,illogical, irrelevant, bashing, libeling, slandering, insulting,disparaging, vilifying, defaming, offensive, profanity, slur,smear, or pornographic material. Furthermore, theideal platform must provide the capability for the onlinecommunity to police itself by grading opinions, commentingon opinions, censoring opinions, and voting for or againstauthors of opinions.4.10. User AccountThe ideal platform must allow users to create their personalaccount which must include all the transactions that theygenerate along with their individual profile which can beeither created natively or imported from other sourcessuch as social networks. The profile can include the user’sbiography, contact information, documents, pictures,videos, preferences, interests, address book, and trustedcircle.4.11. Reward SystemThe ultimate platform must offer a reward system thatencourages users to engage, which creates loyalty. Thetransaction to be rewarded include registering, clueing,grading a clue, commenting on a clue, voting for authors,censoring a clue, referring a clue, posting a clue ontoa blog, annotating, tagging, bookmarking, reportingerrors, making suggestions, and participating in surveys.The reward system can be based on points which canbe donated to charity, passed along to other users, orredeemed against cash or prizes. In addition, sweepstakes,contests, and awards can also be offered. 18
    • 4.12. Customization & PersonalizationThe ultimate platform must allow users to personalize andcustomize the platform according to their preferenceswhich can be defined in settings such as graphical userinterface, navigation, tabs, toolbars, pop-ups, alerts,messages to be displayed or hidden, markers on clueditems, filters, password, and privacy levels which can beprivate, semi-private, semi-public, or public.4.13. StatisticsThe ultimate platform must provide some statistical analysesin order to discover trends. Such statistics must cover allareas of the system including users, usage, clued items,clues, tags, categories, notes, links, bookmarks, referrals,censors, comments, grades, votes, visits, behaviors, etc.4.14. Rich User ExperienceThe ideal platform must offer a very richuser experience which increases usability,loyalty, participation, and usage. Thegraphical user interface must be intuitive toallow users to easily and quickly navigatethrough the system. It must also be adaptiveto the device being used, yet consistentacross all devices – a thin but an importantline to walk. 19
    • 4.15. ViralityThe ideal platform must be able to be extremely viral by propagating clues from somewhere to everywhere, and byaggregating clues from everywhere to somewhere.Specifically, when a user express a clue about something from somewhere, anywhere, that clue must propagateeverywhere on the web where that item is displayed.Vice versa, if a user is at a specific web page, all clues from all users generated from anywhere on the web must beinstantly aggregated and displayed to that user where the user is at, so that the user doesn’t have to search for anythingor go anywhere. The wisdom of crowds must be delivered to users, where they are at, sorted, grouped, and filteredwhichever they prefer. By simply placing the cursor over the marker of a clued item on the web page that the user is at,a pop-up appears with the list of clues of that item created by all users from anywhere on the web. That’s convenienceand instant gratification.In addition, users should be able to refer and share clues with each other as well as automatically post their clues ontotheir own blog. 20
    • 4.16. MarkersIn order to distinguish items in a web page which have been clued, a clued item must be highlighted along with a markerappearing next to it as shown below. Upon hovering over a marker of a clued item, a pop-up window must appearshowing the tags associated with that clued item. The tags can be shown either in a list view or a cloud view. The listmust include the number of clues associated with each tag along with the corresponding average rating. The list canbe sorted according to the tags, the average rating, or the number of clues.In order to avoid cluttering a web page with markers, a user can either display all markers or hide all markers. In addition,a user can be selective by choosing to show/hide markers based on some specific criteria such as markers associatedwith specific items, tags, average rating, date, visits, users, interests, and occurrence of an item in a web page. 21
    • 4.17. Functional ArchitectureThe diversity of functions and features required to harness the wisdom of crowds demands a modularized functionalarchitecture that offers high flexibility and expandability. Such functional architecture must take into consideration notjust current needs but future ones as well as described in the Future Solutions section below.The core of the diagram presented below shows the main functions of the system which includes Annotating, Clueing,and Surfing & Discovering. The capability of tagging and assigning a privacy level apply to all three main functions. Onthe other hand the capability of blogging applies uniquely to clueing, since a clue is the only type of opinion that couldbe posted onto a blog. Bookmarking and linking apply solely to Surfing & Discovering.Besides those three main functions and their sub-functions, there are number of utilities that a user can use. Thoseutilities apply to all functions. For example, a user can search, refer, and share notes, clues, bookmarks, and links.A user can also customize and personalize the system by defining certain parameters in Settings. A user can alsomanage his/her account that shows all transactions generated, his/her profile, and his/her rewards that were earned,donated, or redeemed. Furthermore, a user can perform many different statistical analyses to discover trends. Finally,a user can get assistance through different facilities such as help, wizard, primer, demonstration, and user guide.Underneath all the functions are system modules such as: • Propagation module whose purpose is to spread clues and notes from a point of interest to everywhere on the web. • Aggregation module whose purpose is to collect all clues and notes from everywhere to a particular point of interest. • Editorial module whose purpose is to increase the quality of notes and clues by using a spell checker, a grammar checker, a thesaurus, a dictionary, a semantic analysis, and a linguistic analysis. • Filtering module whose purpose is to reduce clutter and increase relevancy of notes and clues. Filters apply to markers on a web page as well as clues in a directory. Fields which can be filtered include rating, grading, date, visits, author, tag, etc. • Meritocracy module whose purpose is to establish the merit of a clue, a bookmark, or a link. Meritocracy does not apply to notes. The meritocracy module is based on votes for users, grades of clues, censor reports, and comments on clues. • Diagnostics module whose purpose is to make suggestions based on a similarity analysis for surfing and discovering similar web pages to the current web page that a user is at.From a business viewpoint, the entire system wouldn’t be viable without the capability of monetizing the wisdom ofcrowds. Thus, a monetization component that manages advertisements and affiliate programs is necessary. Suchcomponent applies to all the main functions and sub-functions of the system. 22
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    • 4.18. System ArchitectureThe ultimate platform must be based on a system architecture that supports the following: • High concurrency and multithreading to support a large number of users accessing the system simultaneously. • High normalization and optimization of the database to support a large number of clues with each clue possibly being quite large consisting of rich text, audio, or video files. • High scalability requiring the support of server farms at different tiers. • High reliability through fault-tolerance, fail-over, and load balancing. • High usability and intuitive navigation through Rich Interactive Application (RIA) capable of attracting expert and novice users. • High expandability through Application Programming Interfaces (API) based on web services that allow independent developers to integrate their own functions, widgets, and modules with the platform. This Wikinomic model promotes peer-production to expand the platform through a collective collaboration from independent software developers, and crowd-sourcing to generate content from users, resulting into faster delivery, wider adoption, stronger loyalty, and lower production cost. • High modularity that facilitates maintenance and reduces maintenance costs. • Strong privacy. • Tight security.Considering the above criteria, especially the need to have an open architecture that supports web services, we proposea Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) as presented in the schema below over the conventional 3-tier architecturetypically recommended for large distributed systems. 24
    • 2
    • Future Solutions5. Future SolutionsAdvancements in technology, availability of higher bandwidth, and wider adoption of the wisdom of crowds in all itsforms, will lead to major enhancements that will further increase the usability and the ubiquity of the wisdom of crowdsmaking it very compelling to the mainstream. Some of the most interesting innovations will likely fall into the followingareas: • Authoring tools that will allow the clueing of illustrations, graphics, audios, and videos. • Intelligent suggestion system that relies not just on tags, or even on smarter tagging algorithms, but also on clues for the purpose of offering more reliable social surfing and discovering experiences. • Tighter integration between the different devices such as toolbars, widgets, websites, and mobile devices where clueing might occur. • Tighter integration between social media (the wisdom of crowds) and social networks based on the capability of segmenting the wisdom of crowds using powerful data mining and data warehousing techniques. • Monetization system of the wisdom of crowds based on a scalable and sustainable business model. • Sophisticated meritocracy system capable of considering many more variables such as: • Quality of a clue - weighted average grade of a clue including the average grade along with the number of grades based on the following criteria: • Helpfulness of a clue. • Relevancy of a clue. • Understandability of a clue which includes the vocabulary, the grammatical structure, and the composition used in a clue. • Readability of a clue which includes font, format, layout, punctuation, etc. • Recentness which indicates the creation date of a clue. • Trust worthiness of a clue. • Provocation of a clue - number of comments about a clue • Popularity of a clue - number of visits to a clue • Virality of a clue - number of referrals of a clue • Offensiveness of a clue – number of censor reports made on a clue • Reputation of the author of a clue based on the number of votes received. 26
    • • Linguistic analysis that increases the relevancy of clues through: • Name recognition: the capability of recognizing names and their derivatives: • Permutations: “John Smith” and “Smith John”. • Middle Names and Initials: “John Smith” and “John H Smith”. • Short Names: “Robert” and “Bob”. • Abbreviation: “William” and “Will”. • Acronyms: “Thomas James” and “T.J.” • Punctuations: “John H. Smith”, “John H Smith”, “Smith John H”, “Smith John H.”, “Smith, John H”, “Smith, John H.” • Number recognition: the capability of recognizing numeric and literal numbers such as “5” and “five”. • Date recognition: the capability of recognizing all formats of dates such as mm-dd-yyyy, dd-mm- yyyy, dd-mm, mm-dd, mm-yyyy, yyyy-mm, etc. • Punctuation analysis: clued items which include/omit certain punctuations must be treated as the same clued item. For example, “Hotels 5 stars”, “Hotels, 5 stars”, and “Hotels – 5 stars” must be treated as the same clued item. • Singularity/plurality analysis: for example, clues created about the word “hotel” should also apply for the word “hotels”. • Composition analysis: for example a clue about “hotel accommodations” should apply to “accommodations of hotels”. 27
    • • Semantic analysis that increases the relevancy of clues through: • Homonym analysis: James Bond has no strong bond with any junk bond but can bond with other bonds Name Noun - relationship Noun - financial instrument Verb - to establish a tie Noun - financial instrument in plural Such homonyms analysis should apply for both – the propagation and aggregation of clues. For example, if a clue about “bond” (the financial instrument) is generated, then it must propagate to only those web pages that include the word “bond” as the financial instrument and not any other homonym of “bond”. Similarly, when clues are retrieved, the proper category must be automatically selected for users based on the meaning of the word in the sentence. Such homonym selection must be done automatically by the system so that users don’t have to go through the extra step of selecting the relevant category. The benefits of such homonym analysis are: • Eliminate, or at least reduce, clutter of markers of clued items in a web page and the number of clues in the directory of clues once a category is selected. • Increase relevancy of clues. • Increase convenience for users. • Increase usability of the system. • Context analysis: Context analysis attempts to extract the meaning of a word based not so much on the construct of its statement but rather on the entire context of a paragraph or the entire article. For example, if the entire content of an article talks about rivers, mountains, nature, and the like, then the word “bank” must mean the “bank of a river” and not the bank as a financial institution. • Tags analysis: Tags analysis consists of cleansing improper tags. For example, users may have assigned inappropriate or irrelevant tags to a clued item. • Quality analysis: The most complex semantic analysis is related to the quality of the content of a clue based on its composition, eloquence, helpfulness, and relevancy. 28
    • Users6. UsersTypically, in social networks, the relationship between users and content is one-to-one, meaning that every single userengaged in social networking creates some content (if not transactions between users, at least, a profile). On the otherhand, the relationship between users and content in social media could be actually zero-to-many, meaning that someusers are likely to be retrievers versus creators of content. Sure enough, in social media, the 90-9-1 rule applies,meaning that the demographic consists of the following: • Ninety percent (90%) of users are lurkers who tend to retrieve content but never contribute to creating any new content. However, lurkers are the ones who generate the bulk of revenues by viewing or clicking on ads placed next to clues. The benefits to those users are the following: • Never, ever, be caught clueless. • Be “in the know”. • Get a second, third, or nth opinion. • Cut through the clutter. • Boost their surfing habit. • Find influencers. • Discover trends. • Nine percent (9%) of users are hobbyists who tend to retrieve content most of the time, but occasionally create new content. • One percent (1%) of users are diehards who create the bulk of the content. The benefits to those users are the following: • Help others by sharing their opinions. • Contribute to the wisdom of crowds for the greater good. • Earn recognition and notoriety. • Establish their online merit and reputation. • Become famous. • Get compensated with prizes, awards, rewards, cash, etc. 29
    • Social Media Demographics 30
    • Conclusion7. ConclusionThe value proposition of the wisdom of crowds is compelling for both retrievers and creators of opinions. Furthermore,the ubiquity of the wisdom of crowds and its applicability to different constituents, topics, and sectors is undeniable.However, current solutions are functionally limited and technically weak. In addition, they are quite fragmented makingeach tool somewhat inconvenient, often even useless, on its own.In order for the wisdom of crowds to enter the mainstream, an open universal platform with the following properties isrequired: • Integration of all the different functions making the total greater than the sum of each function. Those functions include clueing, annotating, defining, tagging, bookmarking, linking, surfing, and blogging. • Clues about any subject – from products to politics and anything in between. • All types of clues including ratings, reviews, pros, cons, recommendations to others, and suggestions to manufacturers. • All formats of clues including rich text, audio, and video. • Clues created natively or aggregated from other sources. • Clues created and retrieved from any device including toolbars, widgets, websites, and mobile devices. • High virality that includes instant propagation and aggregation of clues. • A rich user experience that increases usability, adoption, and loyalty. • A meritocracy system that safeguards the integrity of clues. • A reward system that encourages users to engage and be active within a social network. • Customization and personalization of the platform. • An open architecture that allows users to develop widgets to be integrated in the platform. • A Service Oriented Architectur (SOA) with the necessary technical specifications to allow scalability and reliability.Finally, future developments were presented highlighting the limitations of the proposed solution as well as somechallenging, yet quite exciting, potential innovations in this field. 31
    • References8. References8.1. Social Media[1] James M. Surowiecki. The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the many are smarter than the few and how collective wisdom shapes business, economies, societies, and nations. Doubleday. ISBN 0-38-0386-. June 2004.[2] Don Tapscott & Anthony D. Williams. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. Portfolio – Penguin Group. ISBN 978-1-9184-138-8. December 2006.[3] Barry Libert & Jon Spector. We Are Smarter Than Me: How to Unleash the Power of Crowds in Your Business. Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 0-13224479-9. 2008.[3] Alex Wipperfuth. Brand Hijacking: Marketing Without Marketing. Portfolio – Penguin Group. ISBN 1-184-078- 3. 200.[4] Yochai Benkler. The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-3001106-2. January 2006.[] Howard Rheingold. Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. Perseus Books Group. ISBN 0-7382-0608-3(hc). September 2002.[6] Rob Brown. Does fundamentalist religion cause the rejection of evolution? or is it the other way around?[7] Robert D. Hof. The Power Of Us. Mass collaboration on the Internet is shaking up business. BusinessWeek, June 20, 200.[8] Jeff Jarvis. Who owns the wisdom of the crowd? The crowd. BuzzMachine.[9] The library at Clupedia’s web site that includes many articles, papers, reports, books, and videos. 32
    • 8.2. Social Networks[1] Mark Buchanan. Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-393-32442-7. 2003.[2] Albert-Laszlo Barabasi. Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life. Penguin Group. ISBN 0-452-28439-2.[3] Duncan J. Watts. Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-393- 04142-5. 2003.[3] Alex Wipperfuth. Brand Hijacking: Marketing Without Marketing. Portfolio – Penguin Group. ISBN 1-5184-078- 3. 2005.[4] Duncan Watts. Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-11704-7. 1999.[5] Robert L. Gross, Andrew Parker, and Lisa Sasson. Networks in the Knowledge Economy. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515950-0. 2003.[6] Mark S. Granovetter. The Strength of the Weak Ties. The American Journal of Sociology, Vol 78, No. 6 (May 1973), pp. 1360-1380. 33