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Peeple is the ‘Yelp for people’ app your mother warned you about

And it's already been valued at $7.6 million


Peeple is an app that lets users rate fellow human beings as if they were Amazon purchases. Its creators are calling it "Yelp for people," with the app letting anyone review anyone they know and assign them star ratings out of five. Reactions on social media, however, suggest the idea isn't entirely welcome, with the concept drawing comparisons with an episode of Community where a similar app turns the school into a Hunger Games-style dystopia ruled over by a five-star elite. Peeple, meanwhile, is simply marketing itself as a "positivity app for positive people."

"Peeple is an app that allows you to rate and comment about the people you interact with in your daily lives on the following three categories: personal, professional, and dating," says the company's website. "Peeple will enhance your online reputation for access to better quality networks, top job opportunities, and promote more informed decision making about people."

There are no anonymous reviews, but no way to opt out either

In an interview with The Washington Post, Peeple's founders, Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough, say that a lot of thought has gone into making the app a positive experience. Anonymous reviews aren't allowed, and anyone who signs up must have a Facebook account older than six months and a working cell phone for verification. Users are also given 48 hours to "dispute" negative reviews of two stars or less (this means messaging the reviewer and asking them to change their mind), and anyone reported for bullying on the service will be booted off. Inaccurate reviews can also be tagged for removal.

However, there's currently no way for users to opt out of Peeple. Anyone can sign up anyone else if they have their cell number, and although only positive reviews are shown on the profiles of people who haven't signed up, members of the public can't see their reviews unless they join. It's also not clear whether negative reviews are judged to be so based only on the star rating or whether the actual content is also taken into account. If just the former, it means that users could give people extremely negative reviews but a good star rating, with the targets of these write-ups never knowing about them unless they signed up. Call it a growth hack.

Peeple says it has heard its critics "loud and clear."

This sort of asymmetric reviewing system has already met problems in the past when applied to real human beings. The "dating" app Lulu, for example, allowed straight women to rate men they had dated based on their romantic and sexual appeal, but was criticized for encouraging a sexist double standard. As the Post points out, the app's makers were eventually forced to change their rules, first allowing men to opt-out and then requiring that they opt-in before being rated. In a message on Peeple's Facebook page, the company says it has heard these complaints "loud and clear," but doesn't state whether it will be changing how the app works.

These issues haven't dimmed investors' enthusiasm though, with the Post reporting that Peeple has already been valued at $7.6 million, while a video blog that Cordray and McCullough used to document Peeple's creation reveals that they raised $250,000 in seed capital in just two weeks. The app is expected to go live on iOS devices some time "mid to late November," with a limited launch starting in San Francisco and Calgary.

A recent update to Peeple's website titled "An Ode to Courage," tacitly acknowledges some of the recent criticism of the app, stating that "innovators are often put down because people are scared and they don’t understand." The post continues, "we are bold innovators and sending big waves into motion and we will not apologize for that because we love you enough to give you this gift," and concludes: "We are a positivity app launching in November 2015. Whether you love us or our concept or not; we still welcome everyone to explore this online village of love and abundance for all."