Peeple: You Can't Keep A Bad Idea Down
Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is a great horror story. Underneath that lies a cautionary tale of someone who had an idea that never should have taken flight, and refused to listen to an inner voice that said otherwise. Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough, the founders of Peeple, apparently think Doctor Frankenstein's approach to the creation of their own monster is actually worth pursuing.
The initial Washington Post article on "Peeple," an app that will allow you to rate people on anything and everything, was enough to turn Cordray and McCullough into the most hated people on the internet within hours of its publication. People far more experienced than I in pointing out how terrible ideas can get did so on notification of the Peeple monster.
Eventually Cordray and McCullough went underground, turning off their websites and social media accounts. Cordray started damage control after making "Yelp for People" the "quickest way" to wrap "anybody's head around the concept." She did this through posting LinkedIn updates about what happened, what she was doing, and why she was taking these steps as she built the app.
The first step was to shift public perception. It wasn't a rating app. It was a "positivity app."
The next step was to fine tune this "positivity app" into what Cordray and McCullough always wanted in the first place, just with a few "tweaks." This "fine tuning" happened in less than a month after the world told her Peeple was ripe for abuse.
And how does one "opt in?" Easy peasy lemon squeezy. All you have to do is double authenticate with a Facebook account and a PIN code texted to your cell phone.
Which still lends the platform to abuse, since there's nothing verifying whether or not the Facebook profile is the person's actual account or a fake. I could still get on Peeple, create an account for someone else, have the app verify through said fake account, and get the cell phone PIN texted to me. Even their "six month activity" time isn't a guarantee against someone with a grudge.
Peeple is in beta testing right now, which is rather interesting because adamant claim of Cordray against it being used for bullying is "you have to see the app to know it's not going to be used badly"
The Entrepreneur article linked has a planned release date of December 10, 2015 to the App Store for iOS. Visiting Peeple's website still has it in beta testing.
Cordray's takeaway from her Peeple experience sounds terrifying.
Sub out "app" for "monster" in that last sentence and Cordray sounds quite a bit like Dr. Frankenstein.