Ever get the urge to rate your friends and colleagues like restaurants, stars and all? Exposing their strengths, but more likely their flaws, for all to see on the unforgiving and unforgetting Internet...forever?
Sadly, there’s an app for that. It’s called Peeple and it’s scheduled to go live in the Apple App Store in late November -- that is, if the bitter backlash swirling virally around it doesn’t torpedo the catty reputation tool first.
Spun by its makers as “a positivity app for positive people,” Peeple lets users rate their friends, family members, neighbors, employees, bosses, BAEs -- anyone! -- without their consent. To use the controversial free app, you have to be 21 and have a Facebook account, and there’s no cowardly hiding behind anonymity. You must use your real name. You also need to know someone’s cell phone number to add them to Peeple’s database, which is straight creepy in our book.
Rating people -- real, live human beings with real, vulnerable feelings, mind you -- involves assigning them between one and five stars, just as you would your neighborhood car repair shop or taco stand on Yelp. You can also write essentially whatever you want about your victims, er, we mean the lucky individuals you review. Naughty or nice, it’s up to you, though certain red flag no-nos are off limits, like profanity, sexism and dredging up someone’s “ private health conditions.” You wouldn’t want your employer knowing about that ick you contracted that one night, right?
Can you smell the job offers lost? The relationships ruined? The cyberbullying accusations? The defamation lawsuits? Yeah, we thought so.
Oh, but positive Peeple ratings publish right away, reports The Washington Post. Negative ratings (those with two stars or fewer) are held in a private inbox for 48 hours to allow time for potential beefs cool off between raters and rate-ees. Bad news: If they can’t come to an agreement to nix the negative review, it posts anyway. “If you cannot turn a negative into a positive the comment will go live and then you can publicly defend yourself,” Peeple writes on its website. For now, it appears the only way to avoid not having your reputation potentially trashed on the app is not to register to use it in the first place. That way, only positive reviews about you will appear. Huh? It’s all a bit murky.
Worse, unlike a similar app named Lulu, which allows women to rate men they’ve dated -- or, let’s be honest, hooked up with -- removing bad reviews of yourself is not an option. Anyone can rate you on Peeple and there’s not a damn thing you can do about, barring tipping Peeple off to "inaccurate" reviews. Big deal. Here’s to hoping you’ve behaved impeccably every moment of your life -- professionally, personally and romantically. Those are the app’s three rating categories.
Basically, imagine if Tinder, Facebook and LinkedIn had a snarky stalker baby and you’re there. Terrifying, isn’t it?
The best friends who co-founded Peeple don’t think so. CEO Julia Cordray and creative director Nicole McCullough, are making publicity lemonade out of a nonstop barrage of criticism and, ironically, vicious attacks against their characters on social media. Only hours ago, Peeple claimed on its Facebook page that its founders would appear on Good Morning America earlier today, presumably to defend (and, of course, promote) their product, which they say they created to publicly lift people up, not to tear them down. We tuned in to the show this morning and didn’t see Cordray or McCullough.
"As two empathetic, female entrepreneurs in the tech space, we want to spread love and positivity," Cordray told the Post. "We want to operate with thoughtfulness."
To that end, Peeple’s FAQ reads:
Your network lifts you up and says positive things about you so that you can have a strong online reputation and get job opportunities, access to more networking opportunities with like-minded people, interact with other single people, and have the ability to search others to make better decisions around your greatest assets such as your family.
The investors Cordray claims have poured half a million dollars into the app don’t seem irked by the negativity surrounding it. Not yet at least. The startup, only a few months old and the subject of a so-called “ documentary” on YouTube, is estimated to be valued somewhere in the ballpark of $7.6 million, also reports The Washington Post.
Wishing this is all just a bad joke, like T-Mobile CEO John Legere? Or just another elaborate prank? We do, too, so we reached out to the people behind Peeple for their side of the story, but we have yet to hear back.
Meanwhile, Peeple's website is mysteriously down at the moment. It's been offline for hours now. Was it hacked by haters or did the besties behind the app grow a conscience after getting browbeat on Twitter?