When I read about this in the Washington Post this week, I had to double check to make sure it wasn’t really a story from the Onion. Seriously, an app that allows you to rate other people? How could this possibly be for real – or for good?

Unfortunately, Peeple is apparently very real … and coming soon (as early as this November). Think Yelp for people. Had a fight with your friend? Broke up with your girlfriend? He didn’t want to go out with you? Got a divorce? No problem, you’ll soon be able to give that person a one star rating so everyone can know your pain.

The concept of this app bothers me on a number of levels.

I see a huge potential for bullying. On a gut level, I feel that the creators of this app were the ultimate popular kids in school and are now looking for new ways to keep the popularity train going forever. I was not a popular kid in school and I am thankful social media was not as prevalent when I was growing up. I can just imagine how hurtful it would have been to have grown up at a time when the bullying could have continued 24/7 thanks to the birth of Facebook. I don’t want to imagine what getting a whole lot of hypothetical one star reviews would have done to me. (Yes I know – you need to be over 21 to leave a review… for now. Didn’t Facebook start out that way too? It’s a slippery slope guys!!!)

The line has been blurring between our private and public lives for some time now. This is not new. I think where the issue lies for me here is consent. If I choose to share my life with the world on Facebook, that’s my problem. Having someone rate me on a personal level? Not so much.

The creators of this app believe that this will be a great way to “showcase your character” online and help prospective employers get a feel for a person’s integrity. The idea that an arbitrary rating could at some point be utilized by potential employers, potential partners and more is terrifying (and before you say – are you just saying that because you’re a horrible person to deal with – I welcome anyone to reach out personally to anyone I’ve worked with in the past.)

I’m no lawyer, but I think there are a whole lot of ethical and legal issues here. Lawyers – weigh in – what do you think about this? Is this slander, or freedom of speech?

How does reviewing people differ from rating lawyers?

But Asha, you say, aren’t you a proponent for online reviews of lawyers and other service provider, thus making you a HUGE hypocrite? Maybe so.

I still think online reviews play a huge role in helping to educate consumers and enabling them to make better, more informed choices. Could arbitrary reviews attacking you on a personal level happen? Unfortunately, yes, but at least the purpose of the reviews for service providers is to judge the quality of services rendered and the ultimate satisfaction with those services. I think purpose is very important here.

Lawyers, Doctors and Teachers – reviews for you have become matter of course. What do you think? Is rating a person any different from rating a service provider? Perhaps its all a matter of perspective.

Also – What does it say that pre-launch this company is already purportedly valued at $7.6 million?

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