RatePoint on Monday plans to introduce a service that will allow residents of the Second Life online society to rate one another. The ratings promise to help them make better decisions about choosing who to socialise or do business with in the virtual world, the vendor said.

The new Second Life rating system is an extension of RatePoint's existing People Powered Ratings service that lets users rate websites, products and services.

"This is something that is desperately needed in Second Life," said Chris Bailey, chief executive and co-founder of RatePoint. "People are begging for a tool like this. It just groups people of like personalities together. People want to tell other people about their experiences in a public way."

The new RatePoint service, which will be free, will allow residents of the virtual city to see the ratings, which range from one to five stars, of anyone who approaches them, Bailey said. Residents also can install a private-view extension to display the rating of any resident in the immediate vicinity.

As residents rate one another using the system, it begins building a profile of the likes and dislikes of each. With that data, the system can group residents whose ratings are similar, Bailey said. Unrated residents will be judged on their so-called ‘dittos,’ which "are a subset of people who think like you. [The tool] would tell you if you should hang out with or do business with a person," he said. "If you do business with someone and have a bad experience with them, and other dittos have had a bad experience with them, you may see that person as a one [star]."

Second Life is a three-dimensional online world created by Linden Lab, which allows participants to create a world that includes homes, vehicles, stores and games.