Input needed: online barter rating service?

For a while now, I’ve been meaning to ask some of my barter partners to write up a little testimonial about me to tell potential new barter partners what it’s like to trade with me.  Now that I’ve finally had the time to think about actually acting on this idea, a new bigger idea has hatched:  If this would be useful to me then it would probably be something that other traders would want to.

Do you folks think it would be useful to set up a new area of the barterfanatic website (that would be free for the foreseeable future) that would allow folks to post feedback about what it’s like to barter with you?  Feedback could be posted about direct trade or trades through any exchange.  Think of it as a cross between the Yelp and Ebay feedback systems, only specifically for barter.

The up-side to this idea would be very good.  For example…I just made a trade yesterday which involved me driving down to San Francisco, picking up a flat panel TV, and giving the gentleman an IMS gift certificate.  He’s never used IMS before and we couldn’t even access his new account while I was there because it was a Saturday and my/his broker needs to activate his account before he can use the website.  Bottom line:  He was taking a pretty big leap of faith with me seeing that he didn’t know me and we hooked up on CraigsList.  I bet he wondered if he just got ripped off as I drove away with his TV.

I came up with two potential down-sides. One of course is that people could post negative feedback about you (that is true or fictional).  My experience with the world says that if you are a good business person, for the most part you will get positive feedback.  Of course you can’t make everyone happy all the time.  Most people understand this and the occasional negative feedback shouldn’t be held against you as long as it’s not a consistent thing.  The bigger down-side that I thought of is that exchanges are so territorial that they might not want to tell their members about a system that appeared to legitimize trade through any system other than their own.

Any thoughts on this idea?  There would be a significant investment on my part if I was to build such a system and I’d love to hear what you think before I spend the money.  Please use the comment system below to let me know your thoughts.


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