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Peeple: The App No One Was Waiting For
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Peeple app co-founder Julia Cordray shows off a Peeple profile. Courtesy of The Guardian.

Summary: Peeple, coined “Yelp for people,” will launch in November–but the public isn’t happy about it. 

It’s coming. The day your nightmares come true.

  
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We are getting an app that rates people!

No, it’s not MeowMeowBeenz, the fictional people-rating app on the TV show Community. An entire episode of the cult TV show was devoted to MeowMeowBeenz, and how people’s obsession with rating one another and gaining approval led to the demise of society. While outlandish, the episode had a strong basis of truth in the idea that publicly rating individuals is a Pandora’s Box.

Weirdly, this new people-rating app is real. Its creators seem to think Community’s lesson won’t apply to it. Or perhaps they’re just looking to their big pay-out and they don’t care.

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The new app, Peeple, is being touted as “the Yelp of people.” One of the app’s founders, Julia Cordray, remains positive about the functionality of her app.



“People do so much research when they buy a car or make those kinds of decisions,” Cordray said in The Washington Post. “Why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?”

Cordray formed the company with Nicole McCullough. The app is expected to launch this November, and its shares evaluate the company at $7.6 million.

Although the two founders are enthusiastic about Peeple, it has overall been poorly received by the public. Steve Dent of Engadget writes, “A ‘Yelp’-style app for rating people is not a new idea, but nobody’s been terrible enough to actually build one in real life — until now….” Though Peeple calls itself ‘a positivity app for positive people,’ he says, “the idea of the app is largely being panned on social media.”

Using the hashtag #Peeple on Twitter, one can confirm that people are happy to give Peeple a bad review.

According to Forbes, the app works like this: anyone with someone’s cell phone number can rate them on the app. No one can opt out. To prevent abuse, users must be 21 or over, users must know their subjects, and reviews cannot be anonymous. For people who don’t sign up for the app, only positive reviews are shown on their profile. For people who do sign up, they have 48 hours to debate their negative assessment.

Critics are concerned about the violation of individual’s privacy, the potential for harassment and defamation, and the inability to opt-out. This raises many legal as well as moral questions, and it will be interesting to see whether or not anyone will file a suit against the app makers for any of the above potential problems.

Cordray and McCullough have responded to the outrage on their Facebook. They have acknowledged the public’s complaints, but they have not yet offered a clear solution.

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Adding more to Peeple’s bad press, the app has also hijacked the name “Peeple” from another brand. Wired reports that Chris Chuter’s Austin-based company, Peeple, has experienced fallout due to the non-affiliated ratings app. Chuter company has created a product that would allow users to see who was at their door by peering at their cell phone. The company won a huge competition recently because of their invention, but now they’re spending a lot of time trying to clear their name.

“This was supposed to be our moment in the sun,” Chuter told Wired this week. “We just won a major competition … then this happened… Our branding is in tatters.”



 

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