I have hope for most businesses, apps, ventures and the like. I could argue with most people on why the dumbest apps are great ideas, because all you need to do is find a niche and serve it well. But then there’s the most talked about app this week that I think is destined for absolute failure; Peeple.
If you haven’t already heard, Peeple is a new app that allows Humans to rate other Humans. They call it ‘Yelp for Humans’, and it’s been making headlines and causing controversy for weeks.
Here’s the kicker. The app is not even out yet.
Here are three reasons why I think this app is going to fall fast, and fall hard.
1. It’s already unpopular.
There isn’t anyone in their corner saying that this app is a good idea. Every single youtube video, blog review, and news story is horrified by the idea of giving an ex-spouse a rating that others can see. Peeple may have been able to make a niche for itself in today’s market if it tried to gain ground without all of this PR, but now they are working up-hill to gain popularity. Here’s the new sales pitch for Peeple, devised by society itself:
Sign up for Peeple & Become Instantly Hated by Your Network
2. It’s a broken model for both praise & punishment.
If you look into the app’s capabilities, no review is annonymous. This seems like a good thing so that people will leave more honest reviews, but think about what this means for reviewers.
If you wanted to really punish someone and give them a ‘you’re a terrible person review’, that’s the same as sending hate mail and leaving your return address on it. Not many people will have the guts to do it, and I’d imagine that the backlash / revenge postings would start almost immeditely. It’s like going into a bar and using a megaphone to make fun of everyone you don’t like. It’s not going to end well for you.
If you wanted to praise someone for how awesome they are, this may also seem like some kind of creepy form of online flattery. I know that we can review each other’s work on LinkedIn, and recommend businesses on Yelp, but a network for saying ‘how much I like you’, is just awkward on so many levels.
3. The CEO has already demonstrated how it doesn’t work.
After launching this idea on social media, THE CEO TRIED TO REMOVE BAD COMMENTS ABOUT HER FROM HER SOCIAL PROFILES. I am sorry to scream at you with that statement, but she is building a network that intensifies this kind of behaviour, and immediately doesn’t know what to do when people start rating her through social media.
— Sharon O’Dea (@sharonodea) October 1, 2015
If that is any indication on how this network will go, she has already led the way to this app’s website becoming a 404 page in only a few weeks.
I know this may seem harsh to put an idea down before it ever gets off the ground, but I sincerely hope that my kids won’t live in a world where they could develop an un-moderated rating of themselves from every person out there who needs to share an opinion about them. Teenagers already have mental issues with how many likes they get on their facebook posts; so imagine what this kind of rating could do to their social growth? No thanks.