World’s Worst App: It’s Yelp But For People

By now you may have heard of the massive crapstorm about a proposed new app heading our way in November called Peeple.  The gist of the app is exactly what the title says – it’s Yelp but for your friends, neighbors, exes and anyone else who has a phone number.  The developers have been furiously and awkwardly defending themselves against criticisms all week.  Here’s what Peeple says it will do;

  • Allows you to rate other humans from 1 to 5 stars in 3 categories – personal, professional and romantic
  • All you need to rate the person is their phone number.  This automatically enrolls them in Peeple
  • You need your own phone number and a Facebook account to sign up.  This is to prevent anonymity.
  • When someone rates you, you get a text informing you that you’ve been rated on the site (again, regardless of whether or not you personally sigged up).  To see the rating and what the person said, you must sign up.
  • Peeple claims it’s about positivity and that bullying won’t be allowed.  It claims that because most Yelp reviews are positive but anonymous, even more Peeple reviews will be positive because they’re not anonymous
  • If you get a negative review you have a limited time to “work it out” with the reviewer. If you can’t, the negative review gets posted and you’re free to defend yourself publicly.
  • You cannot opt out.  No one can opt out.

As you might expect, reading through this, some people have problems with the way Peeple is going to work.  The founders have a preposterous story about how one of them is a mother and feels unsure about who she leaves her kids with, but thinks and app like this will help her confidently choose a babysitter, because what better way to pick a caregiver than by internet reviews from strangers.

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It’s not bullying, it’s character building

The founders both feel that the app can’t be abused because of the lack of anonymity.  Neither one has apparently been on the internet before, because that’s kind of a load of crap.  To start with, not everyone needs to be anonymous to say things about other people.  Did you ever date someone who, say, farted the whole date?  Or maybe they didn’t, but they did something you didn’t like, so you go on Peeple and say your first date was ruined because they wouldn’t stop farting.  Would you care that you’re not anonymous?  No.  Would that other person care that you’re making fun of them?  Probably.  You don’t need to use death threats and swear words to make someone look like an ass, abusing others with this app would be simple.

If all you need is a phone number, what stops an abuser from posting stories about their victim?  What stops someone from rating the elderly or the handicapped or children who don’t have the capacity to defend themselves? 

What stops a person who wants to abuse this app from setting up dozens of fake Facebook profiles, which is stunningly easy to do, and then buying cheap burner phones? 

Of course, that all presupposes one thing – that this App is popular.  And it probably won’t be.  Like many rating apps before it, this will likely be a flash in the pan.  It’s news now because it’s a terrible idea and its creators are so wildly ignorant that it’s kind of stunning and funny to listen to them fumble around trying to explain why they thought this idiotic app was a good idea in the first place.  It’s like the movie White Chicks somehow came to life.  But like Hot or Not or MeowMeowBeenz it will vanish eventually, especially when the brain trust behind it try to monetize it by making users pay for some services, because who the hell wouldn’t want to pay to be made fun of online?

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The story here is not that the app is coming, if it even does after all this negative press, it’s that the developers actually said something this ignorant;

An Ode to Courage: Innovators are often put down because people are scared and they don’t understand. We are bold innovators and sending big waves into motion and we will not apologize for that because we love you enough to give you this gift. We know you are amazing, special, and unique individuals and most likely would never shout that from the rooftops. The people who know you will though…they choose to be around you and in your life and support you even when you don’t like yourself. We have come so far as a society but in a digital world we are becoming so disconnected and lonely. You deserve better and to have more abundance, joy, and real authentic connections. You deserve to make better decisions with more information to protect your children and your biggest assets. You have worked so hard to get the reputation you have among the people that know you. As innovators we want to make your life better and have the opportunity to prove how great it feels to be loved by so many in a public space. We are a positivity app launching in November 2015. Whether you love us or our concept or not; we still welcome everyone to explore this online village of love and abundance for all.

That was posted on their website and is one of the single most obnoxious things you’ll likely ever read, taken in context.  These are two people trying to make human Yelp, they’re not Abe Lincoln.  But hey, if you like the idea of being about to reduce another person to a one to five star rating and having the same done to you, sign up.