Mother Who Can’t Find a Babysitter Co-Founded ‘Yelp for People,’ and It’s Terrible

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It can be tough to know whom to trust with our children. Is Bob really cool, or is he a crazy guy who swallows car keys for fun? What about Joan from next door? Should you trust her because she seems nice and bakes cookies, or mistrust her because who goes around with a name like “Joan” anyway? Seems sketchy.

When faced with a problem like that, a person could try to meet people and rely on her instincts, or she could perhaps rely on friends and family. Or she could use an agency that does background checks on potential sitters. Or she could design an app that lets strangers “review” everybody in the world without their permission, because if you want to know if I will watch your kids for 20 minutes tomorrow afternoon, it would be really helpful if you could read a scathing critique of my goth phase from a bitter ex boyfriend. It sounds crazy, but that is happening for real now that Nicole McCullough and Julia Cordray have invented Peeple, an app they describe as “Yelp for People,” which will let people you know blast their opinions about you all over the Internet.

If you think this sounds like the worst idea ever, you are not alone. According to The Washington Post, Peeple will allow you to rate and write reviews of the people in your neighborhood. You could review your ex, your neighbor, your kid’s teacher, the busdriver, etc. You can submit and review anybody, and you do not need their permission to do so. Once that person has a profile, he or she cannot delete it, either.

“People do so much research when they buy a car or make those kinds of decisions,” said Julia Cordray. “Why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?”

Because human beings are not cars! And I do not want to Google myself someday and see that my husband’s grandmother has written, “Elizabeth Licata is a very nice girl, but she should wear makeup more often and also take her husband’s last name.” Even if the reviews are positive, this app is gross. I wouldn’t be any happier to see, “Elizabeth Licata is a hot and sexy lady. Her husband is one lucky man!” I realize I am just making these up, but the point of my fake reviews is that I don’t want to be reviewed like that at all.

McCullough reportedly told The Washington Post that as a mother, she thought this sort of service would be very useful. She said that in this era we don’t tend to know our neighbors very well, and she wanted something to help her decide whom to trust with her kids.

As a mother, one would hope that she would stop and think, “If my app is successful, in 18 years or so, people will be publicly rating and reviewing my children.” I don’t think most of us would want that, even if we would be OK with being reviewed by the guy across the street who thinks our tank tops are slutty or our grass is too long.

Right now McCullough and Cordray say that anyone submitting reviews must be over 21 and have a Facebook page, and they must submit reviews under their real names. To review a person for the first time, which would officially add that person to the Peeple database, you must have that person’s cell phone number.

The app is scheduled to go live in November, and please do not register for it, not even as a joke. Not even out of curiosity. Not even to write a blog post about it. The app is currently set up so that positive results go up automatically, but negative reviews go in a queue to be contested. If you do not register, the negative reviews cannot be contested and thus do not get posted. So please, for your own sake, do not register.

Still, even without negative reviews going up, I think a lot of us do not want to be numbered and rated for public consumption. This app is unethical and gross. If you want to know whom to trust with your kids, do not ask “Yelp for People.”