Peeple, an app that is being positioned as a “Yelp for People,” is receiving immense backlash for its core mission to encourage individuals to rate and judge one another online. The controversial app has been covered by nearly every media outlet, and Internet users have voiced their outrage over it. But here’s the thing: this is not the first app to attempt such a feat, and it likely won’t be the last. In fact, I’ll just come right out and say it: I actually like the concept of a people-review site.
In fact, I like it so much that six months ago I made it a feature as part of my online reputation management service, MyLife. And the world hasn’t ended. In our modern culture, judgment is not only inevitable but also welcomed. Consider Facebook, where we post a photo, thought, or quote, and then we wait. We wait for the public to “like” it; to share it with others; and to provide commentary, whether positive, negative, or neutral. When you really take a hard look at what’s happening right now, a Yelp for People seems like a natural next step. However, the main reason Peeple will not succeed is actually this: they aren’t bold enough to take the concept as far as they should.
In the wake of such a negative response to the announcement of their app, the creators of Peeple have buckled. Amending their original concept, which allowed both negative and positive reviews, a recent article revealed the app will now only promote positive reviews that are approved by the individual. In doing this, it has removed all credibility and any social benefit the app might have provided. For instance, my site not only allows both negative and positive reviews from friends, coworkers, and even romantic partners, but it also goes a step further and aggregates the entirety of your public online reputation into one place. Therefore, it provides a one-stop searchable database for every U.S. citizen over the age of 18.
Why did we develop a feature to review people? Our focus is enriching the personal and professional lives of our members. Let’s be real, everyone googles everyone; services like mine are simply streamlining the process. A people-review site might provide a positive service to parents, professionals, and those who are dating. For example, rather than spending hours combing the Web researching the parents of your child’s best friend, you can find all their information in one place, ensuring all records, reviews, and content about them are accurate.
While this might sound like a hot spot for cyberbulling, 70 percent of all reviews on our site are positive. As for the other 30 percent, members are not left powerless. Just like on Yelp, they have the opportunity to respond to reviews in an effort to make things right and hide anonymous reviews if they would like. And racist comments, threats, and other inappropriate content will not be posted.
Beyond “people reviewing,” our members are made aware of all their publicly viewable records, the sites that expose their private information, and the names of individuals who are searching for them on the Web. MyLife then provides them with the tools to monitor and control that information. In essence, it is giving people a chance to take claim of their online identities, to correct information, to remove personal details they don’t want to share and, most importantly, the opportunity to shape both their personal and professional online reputations in a way that bolsters their public image. This way, they are not left powerless.
If you don’t agree with me, just leave a review. You can find my profile (or your own) by searching at www.MyLife.com.
Jeff Tinsley is the CEO of MyLife, which helps people monitor and manage their online presence.