Every day, people post thousands of recommendations for restaurants, plumbers, movies and books to read. It’s your duty as a human being to help steer your fellow humans toward goodness and away from trouble. That being the case, why not tell the world how you feel about your boss, your teacher, your co-worker, or your ex-wife?
If that last thought makes you feel uncomfortable, you’re not alone but you’re still going to get your chance thanks to a new app called Peeple.
Here’s the description from the iTunes page:
Peeple is a reputation application that allows you to recommend and be recommended by the people you interact with in your daily lives in the following three ways you can know someone: Personal, Professional, and Dating.
We are a concept that has never been done before in a digital space. We want character to be a new form of currency. Peeple will provide you a safe place to manage your online reputation while protecting your greatest assets by making better decisions about the people around you.
The concept isn’t completely new. It’s a mix of Yelp and Klout with a bit of Rate-a-Date and Tinder tossed in. When co-creator Julia Cordray began talking about the app in public last October, the reaction was mostly bad. Really bad. Cordray told Buzzfeed that her website was hacked multiple times and she started receiving death threats. It got so bad that she had to call the police and arrange for a security detail at a conference.
Did that discourage her from going ahead with the app? Obviously not, because Peeple is now live and people are getting angry all over again.
As it stands now, Peeple is a fairly innocuous app because you can only review people if they allow you to. When a review is written, before it goes live, the app messages the person being reviewed and asks them to create a profile and opt-in. You’d have to be crazy to say yes to a bad review so the app is pretty much sunshine and lollipops – for now.
In the future, Peeple will have an up-sell called the “Truth License”. This allows you to see all of the reviews that have been written, even the ones that have never been published or okay’d by the reviewee. So much for sunshine and lollipops.
Cordray says “Peeple” shouldn’t worry because the Truth License works both ways.
If you’re going to leave a negative recommendation for a lot of people, and I can see all those recommendations that were never published, it looks like you’re a pretty negative Nelly and I can’t believe a word you say.
True, but that won’t lessen the sting when your ex writes a scathing, overly-personal review about you. Which brings up, what I think, is the worst thing about Peeple; it mixes business with pleasure.
I might be interested in hiring Steve Rogers to market my pet food based on his positive professional feedback, but I’m put off by his low personal scores. Sure he’s good at his job, but do I work with someone who is making his friends and lovers miserable? Can you separate work from home when all three grades are right there in front of your eyes?
We could say that the only people who need to worry about this app are those with something to hide, but that’s not necessarily true. Just like the reviews written about you aren’t necessarily true. If this app catches on, it could lead to more customers for your business or it could lead, ironically, to the same kind of digital bullying that had Ms. Cordray fearing for her life.
If, it catches on. Reputation Refinery CEO Andy Beal, told the Toronto Star he doesn’t give it much chance:
According to Andy Beal, a U.S.-based online reputation management expert and author, despite the changes made to the app, he doubts it will find an audience.
“I’m surprised they are going to give it another shot. The public has demonstrated that they are completely comfortable rating businesses and companies, but extremely protective about their own online reputations,” he says.
“A lot of these types of sites launch [then] people get very concerned about the ramifications and don’t get any traction.”
If Peeple takes off, you won’t be able to keep any part of your life off the digital grid.