A new controversial app, called Peeplewhich became a hot topic for discussion on social media last fall, is scheduled to launch in the U. The app is described as a sort of Yelp for humans, where people can rate friends, coworkers and lovers on a scale of zero to As soon as the concept was announced, social media erupted with fear and outrage.
Would the Internet soon be swamped with countless reviews of you, out there in the universe, perhaps saying you're mediocre or worse, from everyone you ever crossed at work or didn't want to go out with again?
In an age when people so carefully curate their online personas to project a positive image, this is a very scary thought for a lot of people.
Investors, however, appear to appreciate the app's potential. In many ways, the app was inevitable. These days, people can't even choose a nail salon without first reading its reviews online. Businesses are one thing, though, and people are another. So, controversy seems to follow whenever those lines are blurred.
They are also often criticized for promoting educators on the basis of superficial traits rather than actual teaching ability. There's simply no way to tell a biased review from an authentic one, and many believe that Peeple would be no different.
Peeple users must be 21, have an established Facebook account, and post reviews under their real names. They must also agree to an extensive list of terms and conditions, upon registration, meant to prevent deliberate shaming and bullying of any kind.
In addition, the app allows users to approve or block reviews people write of them.
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The app's co-founders feel that these "built-in integrity features" will ensure a more productive and accurate experience. The question remains, though: How could a number ever accurately represent a person?
Despite the public outcry their product has ignited, Peeple co-creators Nicole McCullough and Julia Cordray, maintain that it is a "positivity app for positive people. Peeple seems to present a clear opportunity for cyberbullies to detrimentally affect lives, and it's difficult to ignore the damage low character ratings could potentially cause already fragile egos. However, in a tweak to the original concept, the app will allow users to either approve or hide reviews people write of them.
The app's co-founders also aim to minimize the risk of abuse with user rules that state: For some, Peeple conjures painful memories of the controversial website, JuicyCampus, that wreaked havoc at universities across the U. JuicyCampus described itself as an enabler of "online anonymous free speech on college campuses.
Peeple hopes to circumvent the bias and hurtfulness inherent in sites like JuicyCampus by making users accountable for their reviews and not allowing anonymous comments.
Not only will all reviews on Peeple be tied to users' actual names, but people who receive negative reviews will have the opportunity to hide them from appearing on their profile. The company founders are planning a future paid subscription option they refer to as the "truth license," which will allow subscribers to access every review, even those that are hidden.
Peeple's co-creators -- self-described "best friends" -- come at the app from vastly different perspectives.
She has founded two recruitment companies, 96 Talents and Career Fox. Co-creator Nicole McCullough is a mother of two.
According to Cordray's LinkedIn profile, Peeple was conceived when "Nicole set out to find a reliable babysitter for her kids. She knew the value of a referral and then it struck her - why is there nothing that provides reviews, ratings and comentary on aspects that truly matter to us?
So, she teamed up with her best friend Julia and, as the story goes, "the two ladies She and McCullough then created a web series called "Peeple Watching," to promote their product. So far, "People Watching" has 11 webisodes. In number seven, Cordray and McCullough hit the streets of San Francisco asking people what they think of the app's concept.
One waiter, for example comments immediately, "That's what I need. A taxi driver simply reacts, "Wow," then exhales deeply. It takes him a few minutes to fully digest the idea.