Visualizing Spammers and Scammers: A Postcard from the Lab

A peek at what we’re building with Karma3 Labs

IDEO CoLab Ventures
IDEO CoLab Ventures

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Illustration of network graph with text “Spammers & Scammers”

We recently announced that IDEO CoLab Ventures and WE3 are joining forces to incubate new ventures and cultivate the new intention economy. With our design capabilities, the goal is to help early stage startups achieve product market fit faster. But what does that actually look like — especially in a deeply technical space like web3?

To share a peek behind the curtain, we’re kicking off of a new series called Postcards from the Lab. Each delivery will share a brief snapshot of our work — an insightful prototype or lens that illustrates the power of design to help teams get to product-market fit, faster.

This first Postcard shares “Spammers and Scammers”, a prototype from our incubation work with Karma3 Labs.

Recognizing the spammers and scammers in your network

As an internet user today, you’re likely used to the ubiquity of spammers and scammers. Although we’ve come a long way from the Nigerian prince email scam (which still rakes in over $700K annually), the internet doesn’t feel much more secure than it did about a decade and a half ago. From grandparent scams to the hijacking of rare Japanese Kit Kats, engagement farming, bots, and more—bad actors are getting more and more sophisticated, taking advantage of our trust and attention to get what they want.

When it comes to web3 and other permissionless systems, knowing who the spammers and scammers are is even more important than a network’s claims of being “safe.” The ways of measuring who is good, trustworthy, or useful are highly subjective—but identifying who is a bad actor is something we’re much more likely to agree on.

What if, within a network, you could easily see who was a scammer, and who you could trust? That’s where Karma3 Labs comes in.

A simple slider prototype we built makes it easier to understand the impact of removing spammers — and helps Karma3 Labs better communicate what they offer to potential customers.

Karma3 Labs: What comes around goes around

Using the EigenTrust algorithm, Karma3 Labs is building P2P protocol which enables a ranking and reputation infrastructure for web3 applications and marketplaces. By leveraging on-chain data and social attestations, they offer a personalized way to know who you can trust in the world of web3 — an essential quality for driving widespread adoption and cutting through the noise of spam, fraud, and irrelevant information.

Working with Karma3 Labs as an embedded design team, we’ve spent the last few weeks focused on customer co-development — and one of the big themes that has emerged is the importance of removing spammers and scammers to increase the quality of your network.

Brand work by Charlota Blunárová presents a cohesive look and feel that better communicates Karma3 Labs’ mission, values, and offerings.

Visualization unlocks new perspectives

We developed a prototype that helps potential customers understand what a network without spammers or scammers looks like. Because it’s difficult for anyone to understand what “lack of” looks like, the invisible needs to be made visible, and this prototype does that with a simple slider.

In the process of exploring new data visualization models for Karma3Labs, Pierre La Baume and Christian Laesser have opened up a new stream of possibilities — and power. Through our innovative data visualization tools, we can clearly see hidden patterns that distinguish between positive and negative contributions to the network.

These visualizations show the network profile of a selected user. Each dot represents other users that engage with the selected profile (a follow, a like, etc.), which gives the selected node their reputation. Big dots mean higher reputation. An overall reputation score can calculated based on different strategies, with each signal valued differently.

Stani Kulechov is the founder of Avara — home to Aave Labs and Lens Protocol. In the current selected strategy (engagement) he is #1 and has the highest score as many accounts follow and interact with him on Lens. On the right, Vitalik Buterin is known as the founder of Ethereum and one of the most recognizable names in the blockchain space. He receives a lot of engagement from many, even if he is much less active compared to folks like Stani. On the left of his graph, you can see a “fan crowd” that engages with him most.
On the left, this profile is very active and has a lot of outgoing engagements (it follows, likes, and mirrors other accounts a lot). Nevertheless, the user is extremely small and rarely gets interactions/engagements from other users. This could be a sign for a spammer. Center and right, we see how Nader and Christina interact with the network.
A visualization of a single node in a network, titled “You :)”
What will your network look like?

Build with us

Stay tuned for what’s next with Karma3 Labs. We’ll share updates over the next couple of months as we help them apply their protocol to increase the quality and trust of your favorite social networks and marketplaces. As an embedded part of their team we are helping them with strategic outcomes including:

  • Running experiments around reputation and governance
  • Building demos to show how Karma3 Labs’ reputation protocol can help developers build apps and communities with less spam and better content
  • Having better conversations with partners who are interested in using the protocol
  • Defining value propositions to better to attract the right customers and hires through a powerful new brand identity, website design, and more
  • Exploring other ways to help the Karma3 Labs team achieve product market fit in ways that will put them years ahead of their competitors

“Our reputation infrastructure will enable computation of social interactions at scale by providing a measurement of trust across p2p communities and applications.” — Karma3 Labs manifesto

Interested in supercharging your platform with financial and creative design capital to increase the desirability of your product or platform? We review applications on a rolling basis. Check out our incubation program announcement for more information about the types of companies we’re looking to work with, then get in touch.

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IDEO CoLab Ventures
IDEO CoLab Ventures

Bold ideas for a better tomorrow. Using a design lens, we partner with visionary founders to help them create products and protocols that people love.