Punch Drunk: Can the World Really Handle a Yelp For People? 


Last Monday, the Internet, and by extension the world, got a little bit more horrible when the Peeple app became available for free download in the Apple store.

Like the much-despised or much-beloved (depending on how awful of a person you are) Yelp website, the Peeple app allows you to post reviews — only not about restaurants. The Peeple app allows you to post about people. The Peeple app is people. It’s peeeooopple!

Yelp, of course, is where you can go to post and read reviews of small businesses, restaurants in particular. It’s become controversial because of what many people consider a lack of legitimacy regarding the reviews, the privacy of reviewers and the manipulation and blocking of reviews to increase ad spending.

Basically, the argument goes, it’s a corrupt site where unbalanced people can fling malicious crap, whether or not it’s true, in an attempt to hurt businesses. Like, “The service here was horrible and the food was one step below a plate of steaming dog feces.”

It tends to be a lot of unconstructive criticism that serves no purpose.

And now we have Peeple, which might be the worst thing the Internet has given us since the Tonya Harding wedding-night sex tape. You can actually review other people!

The creators say the idea is to provide “a reference check for the people around us,” but critics say it allows for bullying or revenge, which is absolutely true.

It should be mentioned that the service is opt-in only, meaning you can only review others or be reviewed by others if you give your permission. So unfortunately, I cannot go online to tell the world what an untrustworthy, malodorous, rat bastard that Jim Stanwick is. And that, should I have an extra seat in my life raft and saw him drowning, I would use that seat to prop my legs up.

I can’t say those things online though — unless Jim Stanwick agrees to opt-in. But he won’t, because Jim’s a punk.

So once you’ve persuaded your friends, lovers and enemies to sign up on Peeple, you can write reviews — or what the site calls recommendations. Its three categories are professional, personal and dating. The recommendations then can be marked positive, neutral or negative. Originally, it was a five-star rating system — which wouldn’t have caused trouble or wounded anyone at all!

As supporters rightly note, maybe this is the natural evolution of being rated our whole lives. As toddlers, we’re given gold stars and certificates of participation. We’re graded in school. At work we’re performance-reviewed, peer-reviewed and silently judged by that new HR lady. It never ends!

The founders of Peeple say they’re going to launch a premium feature next month called the Truth License. This upgrade will override the opt-in option and let you see everything — good or bad — that’s been said about Peeple’s members. The Truth License sounds like something out of “Gossip Girl.” It’s like a real-life, “Mean Girls” burn book.

So fetch.

Ugh. Why do I watch so much teen programming? I’d roast me on Peeple, if I were you.

Jack Lauterback, area asshat, only watches “Vampire Diaries.” He is a liar, a cheat and a thief. Don’t give him a job or a date or your time. He also once had diarrhea at Barnes & Noble.

In a society where bullies and shamers now get bullied and shamed even worse for their original bullying and shaming, this app seems like a very, very bad idea, which is exactly why it should do so well.

“We are a concept that has never been done before in a digital space. We want character to be a new form of currency,” the app’s developer wrote in its App Store description. “Peeple will provide you a safe place to manage your online reputation while protecting your greatest assets by making better decisions about the people around you.”

Holy hell, these people are delusional. Character was an awesome form of currency when everyone owned a farm and we made handshake deals and bartered oxen, but not so much anymore. Yes, character is still very important in the world we live in — just not on the Internet. Go to a comment section, any comment section, doesn’t matter the website. See, I told you. Character is at a deficit. White-hot hatin’ is currency round these parts!

And really, does the Internet need another place to hate on our peers and exes while objectifying the opposite sex? I feel like Facebook has that pretty well covered. S

Jack Lauterback also is co-host of “Mornings with Melissa and Jack” on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. Connect with him at letters@styleweekly.com, or on Twitter at jackgoesforth.




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