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The Reputation Economy

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The Reputation Economy

How to Optimize Your Digital Footprint in a World Where Your Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Refine your online presence to thrive in a world that rates your reputation digitally.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening


Online companies and organizations collect swaths of your data, hoarding it for later processing. You buy a product here, you give a like there, you post a slightly snarky tweet – and they all become part of a rich, permanent trail of numbers for “Big Analysis” algorithms to categorize and score. These algorithms judge your reputation and then rank you as somewhere between a luminary and nobody. Reputation guru Michael Fertik and privacy expert David Thompson explain the game-changing technology involved in turning raw material into a burgeoning “economy.” Then, they present its consequences: estimating your fitness, health, integrity, fidelity, competence, and other traits, and turning them into factors others can rate, score and, potentially, exploit. getAbstract recommends the authors’ exploration of this brave new online world to entrepreneurs, sharing economy innovators and anyone who spends time online.


High-Volume Storage

High-volume data storage is increasingly available, given price storage declines and capacity increases. Access to easy storage enables companies and individuals using cloud storage facilities – such as Amazon’s S3 system – to amass almost unlimited troves of data. This advance began with the humble punch cards that engineer – and later IBM founder – Herman Hollerith used to streamline the 1890 US census. The principles underlying Hollerith Cards led to magnetic disk storage, like IBM’s 350 system, and to slower but vastly higher-capacity magnetic tape storage. Today, data consumers using the cloud grab capacity from dedicated, climate-controlled “hard-drive farms” and tape-storage facilities. Jeff Bezos’s insight that diverse customers like Netflix would pay to use Amazon’s cleverly “clustered” storage paid off big-time. With consumer hard drives holding multiple terabytes now available for less than $200, massive at-home data storage is flourishing. One major consequence of ubiquitous, ultra-cheap storage is that since data deletion costs more than storage, companies, organizations and people just keep all their data.


About the Authors

Entrepreneur and reputation expert Michael Fertik advocates for digital privacy and reputation management in his books. In 2006, he founded, where David Thompson is privacy officer. Thompson also consults, edits and writes on privacy and strategy issues.

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