Venyo improves the reputation of Web 2.0

How can you trust what you read in social media? Get users to rate the source, and make that rating stick

One of the biggest problems in the world of Web 2.0 and user-generated content is that people are already abusing blogs, wikis, and file-sharing sites to assail fellow users with spam, marketing pitches, and even malware. Venyo wants to help solve all that.

Founded in 2006 and still in the process of finalizing its initial product, the Switzerland-based company of four remains very much in start-up mode.

But Venyo's founders, who come from the world of e-commerce, believe they can create a significant business quickly by helping companies, online communities, and end-users who have embraced Web 2.0 weed out unwanted content and find what they're looking for faster.

So how do you determine which content providers are honest brokers versus scammers or salespeople? The answer, according to Venyo, is to enable Web 2.0 communities to rate individual content sources.

"A lack of trust has always been an issue on the Internet, and it's not getting better with arrival of Web 2.0. In fact, it's getting worse, as people who abuse user-generated content systems increase suspicion between contributors, Web sites, and advertisers," says Jean-Noël Chamart, co-founder and chief executive of Venyo. "The poor quality of a lot of the published material is the problem with Web 2.0, but the audience for this content has grown large enough to exert quality control. People see the need for an eBay-like reputation tool for Web 2.0 applications, which is just what we're creating."

By signing up for the system on the company's Web site -- where a beta version of the technology is already available -- Web 2.0 content contributors will be able to create a method for other people to rate the overall quality of their work.

Venyo hopes to integrate with all types of user-driven content sites, including music and video portals. The idea is that people will use the system to create site-independent identities, which they carry with them to various venues, reputation and all.

By affixing each piece of Web 2.0 content with a standard 1-5 rating, as well as a series of so-called tags that help denote what types of topics specific contributors have become known for, the company will award each user with a "vindex" that informs other people what someone's level of quality and area of expertise may be.

Chamart said his company is currently in negotiations with a number of user-content driven properties online to integrate its software with their sites.

On the business side, people such as advertisers will be able to identify individuals who have established themselves as respected sources of content and offer those contributors product previews or special offers as a tool to reach the audiences the Web 2.0 users reach, the company says.

Venyo is already planning a payment system whereby advertisers will pay for the right to pitch such qualified recipients with their own materials, with plans to split any fees collected 50/50 between the company and desired recipients.

The company also has protections in place to prevent people from abusing the system by pumping up their own work or paying others to do so.

"When our system is integrated on many platforms and people can manage their reputations from one site to another, it will create an environment where a lot of the noise is driven out of Web 2.0 applications, leaving the good content behind," Chamart says. "People such as marketers and advertisers are looking to meet high value customers, trend makers, and people who command an audience; with Venyo, Web 2.0 users will decide who those people will be."