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Related: judgement - word of mouth - recommendation


Opinion is a person's ideas and thoughts towards something. It is an assessment, judgement or evaluation of something. It is usually based on a personal assessment.

Opinions can either be made up by a person or taken over from another person. Sometimes some people try to force their opinions on others. In general, all people are free to form opinions as they see fit. However, in certain political regimes, especially those with police states, it is not advisable to express certain opinions openly.

Opinions have exerted a major influence on human affairs ever since the dawn of recorded history, and probably before that as well. They are known to have caused several wars, for instance. Also, the impact of opinions in the area of marital relations is impossible to understate. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion [Apr 2005]

TOOL: The Open Opinion Layer by Hassan Masum

Shared opinions drive society: what we read, how we vote, and where we shop are all heavily influenced by the choices of others. However, the cost in time and money to systematically share opinions remains high, while the actual performance history of opinion generators is often not tracked.

This article explores the development of a distributed open opinion layer, which is given the generic name of TOOL. Similar to the evolution of network protocols as an underlying layer for many computational tasks, we suggest that TOOL has the potential to become a common substrate upon which many scientific, commercial, and social activities will be based.

Valuation decisions are ubiquitous in human interaction and thought itself. Incorporating information valuation into a computational layer will be as significant a step forward as our current communication and information retrieval layers. --Hassan Masum in http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue7_7/masum/index.html, May 2002

Collaborative Filtering - What Amazon really does (2003) - George Dafermos

Amazon has not revolutionalised the bookselling industry because it offers such a vast collection of books, many of which are cheaper than at high-street bookstores. Neither because it has laid the ground for cross-selling opportunities by deploying highly sophisticated CRM technologies which track and record every single customer click. What is so special about Amazon.com is that it invites readers to send reviews of books and to rate them on a five-star scale along with a commentary expressing their thoughts and opinions on the book. Authors have the right to reply and other reviewers can comment on how useful the review was to them but they cannot change the review.


One might counter that what Sullivanís Book club does is nothing new as it is just an example of a prominent opinion leader and thatís what opinion leaders do: influencing the masses into making certain decisions or buying certain products. Of course, this is a top-down process of Ďmarketing coercioní, from the opinion leader to the masses. I would certainly agree with the assertion that Andrew Sullivan is an opinion leader. But I firmly believe that itís the power, the passion and the energy embedded in his weblog that boosted the sales of Kaplanís book rather than the compulsive opinion of a single man. Had not been for the weblog, all Sullivan could have done, as an opinion leader, is to suggest a book for others to buy. Thatís not what he does though. What he does is to invite others to join the conversation and I am sure that his readers do not see an opinion leader but someone whoís keen on having a chat with them. --GeorgeDafermos via here.

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