Reputation management is the process of tracking an entity’s actions and other entities’ opinions about those actions; reporting on those actions and opinions; and reacting to that report creating a feedback loop. All entities involved are generally people, but that need not always be the case. Other examples of entities include animals, businesses, or even locations or materials. The tracking and reporting may range from word-of-mouth to statistical analysis of thousands of data points.
Reputation management has come into wide use with the advent of widespread computing. This is evidenced by a recent front page story in the Washington Post featuring several online reputation management firms. Reputation management systems use various predefined criteria for processing complex data to report reputation. However, these systems only facilitate and automate the process of determining trustworthiness. This process is central to all kinds of human interaction, including interpersonal relationships, international diplomacy, stock markets, communication through marketing and public relations and sports.