on Amazon have thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of reviews. Many range from glowing praise to aggravated scorn. The old saying “can’t please them all” becomes evident when you see the trite reasoning used to unleash rage upon a product.
But as we navigate our interconnected future, we’re seeing the rise of a new breed of review apps: apps with the sole purpose of letting users review individual people. Yes, this “Yelp for people” phenomenon that started seemingly as a joke is now a viable platform for apps. We’ve found three so far and it seems likely more will follow.
Are you being reviewed on an app without your knowledge? Well, we just don’t know.
The firebrand app that caused a national stir, Peeple was created by two women in Calgary, Canada with good intentions in mind. The public outcry focused on the fact that there could be reviews about you without your consent.
Billed as the first “Yelp for humans” app, Peeple is currently sitting at one star on the App Store. The reviews of the app reflect the privacy concerns that most have for this platform. Also, ethics aside, it appears Peeple’s user agreement stipulates that only Canadians can use the app. This agreement can easily be ignored when you install the app yourself, no matter your location.
Other reviews also mention the indemnity clause for using the app. This means that if you, say, download the app just to see what others have written about you, you agree that you will not sue the platform for any negative reviews hosted on the app.
Co-founder Julia Cordray swears this is not a platform for bullying as she has been a victim of bullying herself. Cordray’s experience in the reviewing-people field comes from running her own recruitment firm called Career Fox. In an interview with Valley Talks, Cordray’s stated intent for this app is to be a platform that can help you manage your online reputation while leveraging good reviews as you navigate your career.
During the media firestorm that followed the announcement of this app, Cordray suffered misrepresentation in the media and bullying on social media. She feels this process has changed her worldview on humanity, saying “I realized that I lost the innocence in my view of the world where people are predominantly good. I lost that naive view.”
The app remains available as a free download on the iOS App Store. You can still use it and submit reviews on anyone you please even if you’re not Canadian.
The new kid on the block, Stroovy is approaching people-reviewing a little more fairly for all involved. Stroovy requires the person being reviewed to have an active dating profile visible to the public. This helps safeguard the potential of never knowing your face is appearing on an app of this nature, since you’ll have already opted in to the online dating scene.
Interestingly, Stroovy requires users to submit a full review on someone before that user is allowed to search reviews of anyone else. This is surely founded on the reasoning that prying eyes will be required to add to the community by submitting a review before lurking on other reviews. This price of entry may help calm the critics as this forces the app ecosystem into something of a tight community instead of a widely searchable and easily accessible inventory of humans. This also helps sidestep the term “Yelp for…”
Stroovy bills itself as an authentication service for frequent online daters. Its official site is quick to add that “There are over 74,000 sex offenders active on dating sites!” This, again, is quite helpful for women who want to get a second opinion on a match before meeting up in person.
Stroovy is currently sitting at a solid five star rating on the iOS App Store, but the first review on the page mentions that the reviewer was April’s $1,000 in-app raffle winner. So, take these reviews with a grain of salt.
Once a platform for women to review men on dating sites, Lulu is now a retooled Tinder clone. This people-reviewing app was recently sold to Badoo, the largest dating company in the world for an undisclosed amount. Lulu’s former CEO, Alexandra Chong, claims that selling the app didn’t come about because the app was doing poorly, in fact it was just the opposite:
“It was very successful… but subsequently we’ve learned that beyond having the tool, there was also a very keen desire, rather than just browsing guys, to match with them and meet them.”
When Lulu was in it’s heyday, women could write unmoderated reviews of men they knew as friends, ex-boyfriends, or even just as a hookup. Using a number of available hashtags to describe these men, women could paint these guys in any light of their choosing. Hashtags like #SelfMadeMan and #PerfectGrammar are included along with critical hashtags like #Cheap and #ADD. This, of course, led to the description of the app as “Yelp for Men.”
The desire to make internet dating safer for women is, in the eyes of this reviewer, a noble one. Unfortunately, the desire to monetize the app as yet another dating platform is slightly less so. The altruistic nature of the app also hinges on the desires of the spurned lovers who reach for the app to burn a failed romantic endeavor.
It seems the concept of reviewing people isn’t going away. But it does appear there are currently a wide ethical range of methods applied to the trend, and likely even more coming in the future. It appears the big problem here is not knowing you’re being reviewed on a platform you don’t use. It would make sense that emerging platforms would do best by alerting the person who is the subject of the review.
Stroovy’s approach appears to be the most respectable. Only allowing reviews of people currently “putting themselves out there.” But the future remains uncertain if even this is deemed ethical by the court of public opinion.
In the end, continue treating others as you would have them do unto you and you’ll have less to worry about when you inevitably find your face alongside a potentially unfavorable rating.
Exclusive offers, discounts, and special membership rates for Review-Weekly.com approved products are all yours. Wanna be email buddies?