Skepticism clouds Peeple app before official release

by | Dec 4, 2015 | Biz/Tech

Jelani Grant
Senior Reporter

The Peeple app, founded by 96 Talents CEO Julia Cordray and co-founder Nicole McCullough has already received a lot of criticism even before the people-rating app is released.

The upcoming app has people wondering what is the app’s primary purpose. This was one of the questions Humber College Business professor, Dr. Youssef A. Youssef had before he would decide if he wants to sign up for it.

“I would like to learn about it,” said Youssef. “You have a lot of tools that rate people already… you can rate people on social media now a days”.

Youssef noted most employers refer to social media before hiring new employees to get an idea of their personality. He said the app could thus be harmful to many employment-seekers if an adversary decided they wanted to go through the process of creating a fake Facebook account and using a disposable phone to stain someone’s professional image.

Cordray responded to concerns like these through her interview with Entrepreneur Magazine in November.

“You’re not anonymous on our platform,” Cordray told Entrepreneur. “You can block users and report users. You have full control over what goes on your profile.”

Cordray said Peeple utilizes some of the more popular social media platforms.

“You will be able to share your professional profile on Facebook, Twitter, email or text, ” she said.

Though consumers will be able to post their Peeple profiles on their other social media outlets, the app exclusively allows users to make a more educated decision of who they can choose to hire, work with, live next to, or even date through the recommendations and reviews of others.

However, some students likeHumber Business management student Henry Tran, 18, wouldn’t try it unless his friends suggested it to him. “What’s the point?” Tran asked.

He said the social and business mixed components make it hard for the app to be considered 100 per-cent reliable from a marketing perspective.

Cordray said users who try to hide any negative reviews will have a recommendation score. “I suggest you look at all recommendations they received on their profile and all recommendations they wrote about others which can be seen at the bottom of their profile.”

This rating system is determined by every recommendation received whether it is shown on the profile or not.

“All recommendations whether posted live or not affect the person’s recommendation score. Look at their overall score,” said Cordray.

The recommendation score will be composed of five elements not yet revealed to the public.

In response to the harsh critiques, some adjustments have been made to the app, including the opt-in patch that means someone cannot be forced onto the app by someone else. Even if a profile were created for a person without their permission, they would receive a text to confirm the authenticity and would always have the option to deactivate.

Though the Federation of Canadian Brazilian Businesses President does trust reviews on websites such as Ebay, Trip Advisor and Amazon, Youssef said he would need to get a better understanding of the business model before deciding on using the app himself.

A new feature Cordray announced is the ‘Nearby’ tab that will allow users to find other Peeple handlers in their proximity, allowing for networking specific to that person’s preferences. As the app is intended for social purposes as well, someone could find their romantic match at their favourite corner coffee store just by using Peeple’s ‘Nearby’ tool.

For business experts like Youssef however, the social and professional combination for the app is concerning. As dozens of dating sites tailored to specific demographics already exist, Youssef is curious to see what primary function Peeple users will refer to the app for.

As an accommodation to the updates the app was pushed back to a possible late December or early January, opposed to mid-November. Youssef said statistics show that a lot of relationships end at the end of the year, so the release could lead to a greater initial download response for those looking for a new method of online dating in their area. Though many are interested in actually trying the app before dismissing it as useless, the early negative attention has inspired a petition to stop the release.