Peeple ... a new web application launching in November, will let anyone “rate” anyone else, and view the ratings of anyone on the site. This is much like Yelp lets you rate restaurants and other local businesses, and review those ratings.
I've often wondered why nobody had done this before. It seems like such an obvious opportunity. There's an obvious variant as well: rating employees of a particular company, where the reviewers are identified as either customers or other employees.
It's obvious that this will be abused by angry people, or those with a grudge. You see this sort of thing on Yelp all the time, and even on product ratings at Amazon. Nevertheless, the ratings still provide good information – and usually the abusers can be easily identified, often simply by the tone of the review. Some sites with ratings allow the ratings to be reviewed, and this is a great way to help filter out the abusers.
I think there's great promise in something like Peeple.
As a businessman, I'd have loved a way for my customers to give me anonymous feedback about my customer-facing employees. The kind of blunt, honest feedback you see in product reviews is almost impossible to obtain about employees today. I'd also have liked to know what employees thought about their managers.
As a consumer, I'd like to be able to give feedback about great (or not so great) experiences I've had with particular people at the places I do business with.
Where things really start to get interesting, though, is on the strictly personal level. Imagine, for instance, all your neighbors being rated – and them rating you. Will this lead to better behavior? Will it lead to “wars”? Will it reduce or increase conflict between people?
I'm inclined to think that more information is better in nearly all circumstances, Anthony Weiner and the Clintons (and their ilk) excepted. Some people will never care how they're perceived by others, and Peeple won't change that. Most people do care, though ... and Peeple's public shaming and recognition mechanism might just make a positive difference...