In the News
New Website Ranks Every American Adult
Scary new site lets user rate anyone – anonymously
Jilted ex-girlfriends, warring neighbors, scorned employees – rejoice! You now have the opportunity to rank anyone in the world using a five-point scale and anonymous comments.
The new website PersonRatings.com lets users rate how attractive, classy, successful, etc. anyone else in the world is – all from a cowardly, anonymous perch. It’s a Pandora’s box of mean-spirited, libelous clicking.
The owners of the site refuse to delete any of the rankings or comments – no matter their veracity. Even more disturbing? They bought a bunch of MySpace profiles and posted them on their site – without those MySpacers’ permission.
Is there no justice in the World Wide Web?
Jeremy Stamper, CEO of the company behind PersonRatings, told ABC News that his site is protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
“The online world is like the offline world. People do good things and bad things. But we don’t clamp down on basic freedoms,” he told ABC. “It’s a messier society. And there’s a lot of room in our society to be hurt and hurt others. But we have the best system.”
Stamper compared PersonRatings to other ranking sites like RateMyProfessors and RateMDs. He called his site a “one-stop shop” for ratings on every adult American.
And we need this — why? It’s one thing to rate service providers, like doctors or mechanics. It’s another to publicly disparage everyday folks over how attractive, successful or “energetic” they are.
The only people who will use this site are the snarky, the bitter or the cruel. I have a personal YouTube fan club of angry teenage boys with too much time on their hands, so I know what I’m talking about. Their nasty comments don’t really bother me. (My personal favorite is when they rail on me for looking fake because I have a nose job – I always call my parents and thank them for giving me “nose job” worthy genes!)
The fact is, I’m a very public writer, blogger and actress. So I expect to run the comment gauntlet.
But as blogger and Internet star Julia Allison points out to ABC, mean comments are far more damaging to regular people who haven’t thrust themselves into the spotlight.
“No one is universally liked,” she says. “And the fact is, the Internet is a place for ad hominem attacks. That’s bad, but that’s the truth.”
Despite my outrage over the existence of this site (seriously, why does everyone on the internet have to be so mean to each other??), I doubt it will make much of a ripple. Anyone can see that the site’s levels of accuracy and reliability are subterranean at best.
A quick sampling of profiles found Barack Obama earning 2.83 out of 5 points (he got highest marks for confidence, lowest for being classy or trustworthy.) George Bush scored 2.68 (George’s best score was also for confidence.) Sarah Palin, however, beat them both, with a rank of 3.58. She earned a higher “successful” rating than Barack Obama, George Bush, Bill Clinton or even our nation’s first president, George Washington.