Trust is notoriously difficult and timely to build, yet it is incredibly delicate. One wrong move can break trust forever.
Consumer culture and advertising is built on brand image and trust. Something is bought because the purchaser trusts the product and the brand behind it. But as the digital world has grown, advertising has changed dramatically.
Influencer marketing has shifted advertising in recent times. Brands leverage individuals with highly engaged followings to promote their brands in a seemingly more organic, yet still highly targeted manner.
In the beginning these recommendations were well received by fans since they trusted the influencer and believed the product endorsements to be genuine. Much like most advertising trends, influencer marketing started out highly successful but has deteriorated quickly.
In the present, people don’t appreciate products being pushed onto them when they can tell the endorsement is not genuine. We recently introduced you to Word of Mouth Protocol (WOM), a blockchain based protocol that provides a way to monetize word-of-mouth recommendations – the most effective product persuasion technique throughout all of time.
WOM is driven by a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and human contribution to build trust between product promoters and consumers. Individuals that contribute to the network are called ‘authenticators’ and they work with the AI to sort the genuine content from the nonsense. Let’s take a look at how it works.
Why use authenticators?
Billions of product recommendations are made every day and as we’ve already established, not all of them are genuine. WOM enables an equilibrium of trust to be created between the content creators and the consumers by using authenticators.
On one side, the creator is able to release content and suggest brands they enjoy. On the other side, consumers know that the recommendation is genuine. Authenticators create a bridge of trust between the two sides by working together to reach a consensus: is this word-of-mouth recommendation genuine or not?
Authenticators play this role in the network for two reasons: to build trust and earn compensation.
How authentication works
Within the WOM network there are WOM tokens and Reputation (RP) Tokens. RP tokens are used to reflect authentication power, where the more RP tokens you have, the more influence you can have on the network. RP tokens are 1:1 with WOM tokens and it’s possible to switch between the two at any time.
Financial risk or incentive is used to motivate authenticators to judge content truthfully. To achieve this, in order to be an authenticator you have to stake RP tokens on your verdict. Authenticators that incorrectly judge content will lose RP tokens. On the other hand, if you correctly authenticate content you will receive a portion of the tokens that were lost by authenticators on the wrong side.
Authenticators are able to stake more RP tokens to give themselves higher authentication power, knowingly increasing the potential risk and reward. The tokens that are awarded to the ‘correct’ authenticators are the tokens that are lost by the ‘incorrect’ authenticators. Tokens are distributed proportionally based on the authentication power of the authenticators.
Authenticators earn rewards based on user engagement on the content they successfully authenticate.
Decisions are made through the consensus process called proof-of-utility which has several dimensions, each of which is weighted:
1) The authentication power (50%)
2) The accumulated staking time since account creation (20%)
3) The accumulated number of RP Tokens staked since account creation (15%)
4) The last staking time (10%)
5) The age of the authenticator account (5%)
Using the above dimensions and weights, authenticators are judged by their overall authentication power. Consensus is therefore achieved by taking into account the authenticators decisions, but also providing each decision the appropriate amount of influence based on the above dimensions.
Authentication power is weighted high because it increases with the reputation of the authenticator. The more reputation tokens one has and is willing to risk, the higher perceived reputation within the ecosystem, which is a significant position.
This weighted process means that consensus is not reached based on one key factor such as amount of tokens held or merely just the ratio of votes. Instead, the amount of tokens at risk plays a key role, alongside a number of key account activities that are used to determine the trust of the account.
Content must be authenticators by at least three authenticators. If it is not, all stakes are returned in full.
Overall, this process means that trustworthy, genuine authenticators that have proven their worth have a larger impact on the authentication process, which helps to build trust within the ecosystem.
Judging the content
When a content piece needs authentication, authenticators evaluate the quality of the piece based on three parameters:
- The authenticity of the content
- The creativity of the content
- The positivity of the recommendation – does the content show the product or service in a positive light and create desire?
Collusion between authenticators is dissuaded because the subsequent reward is based on the performance of the content. If the consumer interaction is bad, the rewards are bad. Therefore, incentives for collusion are smaller than the incentives for correct behaviour.
Sourcing trustworthy content
To strengthen the system to another degree, content creators that are creating word-of-mouth content are also financially incentivised to be genuine and trustworthy actors.
Content creators are required to stake WOM tokens to list their content for authentication. Upon evaluation, the content creator may be eligible to receive a reward if their content is above a certain threshold. On the flipside, if the content is below a threshold the creator will lose their tokens WOM tokens.
Using the three judging parameters, content creators are therefore strongly encouraged to create authentic, trustworthy word-of-mouth product recommendations to be rewarded instead of penalised.
WOM have built an authentication system that aims to filter out illegitimate product recommendations by:
- Incentivising content creators to make authentic content
- Incentivising authenticators to reach the correct judgement on each and every content piece
- Weighting authenticators to provide proven authenticators with stronger reputations more influence
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*Disclaimer – WOM Protocol are our Media Partners and therefore this content is sponsored by them. The fees paid by this project are used to pay for The Daily Chain salaries, dev work, hosting services, travel expenses etc.. that are required to make this company a success and continue to provide the community with great content on a daily basis.