SAN FRANCISCO – It’s like a bad nightmare from middle school — an app that lets people rate anyone they known on a scale of one to five for all the world to see. And it’s scheduled to launch in November.
The app is called Peeple. As imagined by creators, Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough, there’s no way to opt out.
The app’s tag line is “Character is Destiny.” The creators see it as a way for people to learn what the world thinks about them and showcase the content of their character.
The idea is that if you know someone’s cell phone number, you can create a listing for them. You then rate them with between one and five stars, saying whether you know them personally, professionally or romantically.
If someone creates a listing for you, you’ll get a text telling you they’ve done so. As of now, there’s no way to say you’d rather not participate and no way to keep someone from creating a profile on you.
That could change. In a posting to the app’s Facebook page Thursday, CEO Cordray wrote “We hear you loud and clear. 1. You want the option to opt in or opt out. 2. You don’t want the ability for users to start your profiles.”
The app’s creators didn’t respond immediately to emails Thursday, but on their Facebook page they say to create profiles on the site you must be 21 and have an established Facebook account, and all reviews must be made under your real name.
Positive ratings post automatically. Any rating with two stars or less goes to the inbox of the person being reviewed.
According to a post on its Facebook page, negative reviews do not go live on the app for 48 hours. “Assuming you can’t turn a negative into a positive, the comment goes live and the person can now publicly defend themselves,” the creators said.
Only positive reviews show up in the profiles of people who haven’t signed up.
That creates what appears to be something of a Catch-22. To see what people have said about you, you would have to sign up for the service. But in doing so, you would automatically allow negative reviews about you to go up, reviews that wouldn’t be posted if you hadn’t gone on the site.
The creators say the app will ban profanity, sexism and discussion of private health conditions.
Wall Street seems to like the idea. According to a video blog Cordray and McCullough posted, they raised $250,000 in seed capital funding in two weeks this summer. According to a story in the Washington Post on Wednesday, the company’s shares are now worth $7.6 million.
The public was not quite as thrilled. By Thursday mid-day, hundreds of comments, many negative, had flooded its Facebook page. Tweets and news articles added to the frenzy.
Facebook comments included, “Your profile will say you are clueless to the harm you will cause to others,” and “You people disgust me in a way that I thought it was impossible for humans being to do anymore. If this is not an elaborate hoax, you are creating the most vile, repulsive service in human history.”
The app’s site, www.forthepeeple,com, was not responding Thursday afternoon. Whether that was because it hasn’t yet gone live or it was simply crashing under the weight of so many attempted searches was unclear.
A series of videos the creators had posted on YouTube about the creation of their company and app had been removed Thursday morning.
The app’s Facebook page says it’s being built by “two best friends, 1 in Canada, 1 in the U.S.” The headquarters are listed as Calgary, Alberta. However in her video, Cordray said she had moved to San Francisco to launch the app.
Peeple is scheduled to appear first as an Apple app, but an Android app is also in the works, the creators said on Facebook.
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