Spam and Reputation
Organizations that rank well will want to brag;
those that don't will want to change.
This research project illustrates the use of outbound spam
rankings to provide organizational reputation that can
change the behavior of the ranked organizations.
Fifty years of research indicates that this approach should work.
Social comparison theory indicates that people change their
behavior when they know how they compare to people they consider similar
Experimental economics research by
Apesteguia finds that displaying minimal information regarding
individual and group pay-offs and disclosing the pay-off structure in a
commons setting induce similar behavior in players in a repeated game
We might therefore expect ranked ESPs to care
about their relative position even though immediate costs and returns may
not be estimated.
Milinski et al. alternate rounds of public
goods and indirect reciprocity games and find that existence of indirect
reciprocity helps maintain very high investment levels in public goods
experiments [Milinksi 2002].
Likewise, if we assume that the organizations that are
ranked together have other ongoing competitive and cooperative activities,
their position in rankings would help induce expected behavior and lead
to increased effort towards controlling outbound spam.
Chen determined that social comparison theory applies to the Internet
Frei demonstrated Internet organizations when
compared regarding software patch security changed their behavior [Frei 2010].
For the references and a longer explanation of these ideas, see
Internet Reputation Experiments for Better Security.