I have been talking about the concept behind this site for some time. Those of us the stare at the future have long known that we would one day have a rating site of individuals that carries some weight. I am not sure the Honestly.com will be the winner, but I have no doubt that a site like this will one day be a common place as we search for information on our fellow human beings. The critical components that need to be solved are how a ratings site for people can create the ability to get a fair and honest picture of a person. Once we have faith in that, this concept will explode. The result will be the first stop anyone will make after meeting a new business contact – or personal contact in many cases.
The problem at the moment is that most people figure out pretty quickly that a people rating site can be manipulated by having all our friends and family go write positive reviews. And at the other end of the spectrum, this is a honey pot for attracting bitter ex-boyfriends and girlfriends, ex-employees, or ex-friends that want to trash your reputation. With these two doors open, it makes it hard to filter down to the real reviews and ratings that give a fair glimpse into a person. The good news is that ratings sites are starting to put in filters to weed out the astroturfing (artificial good reviews) and the bitter attack reviews. The bad news is I fear it will take some years before we really get a filtering system that gives us a relatively clean view of a person. With this said, I think the concept of a people rating system is solid, useful and going to happen.
What about privacy you say? What about the lack of control over ones reputation when others are creating it online with their comments? Is it really fair to have forced transparency? This may sound heretical to some of you, but I am perfectly fine with people rating me. I actually think it is a bit crude in humanity that when I meet someone new, I have no easy way to verify what they are like to do business with. Hiring people has long been a crap shoot because you really have no way of knowing much about them even when you check on their packaged references. We hire critical services like doctors, lawyers and CPA’s without the slightest clue as to what their success rates are, or how their bedside manner shows up after a few transactions. We enter into complicated business deals with people that we really have little insight about, mostly because the deal looks good on paper without factoring in the human equation. Sadly, at the point we learn that the human equation is a problem; it is too late to get out of the deal.
Do I worry that someone will give me a bad rating and that will hang around for a few years and give people concern? Sure. Do I worry that I might even pick up a few negative ratings that are really not deserved? Absolutely. On the other hand, I am pretty confident that most people would say positive things and I am willing for the world to see me as truthfully as others see me. Especially if the trade off is I will have a way to check the voracity of all the people I hire, or go to work for professionally.
Check out the site when you get a chance and just think for a few moments how the world would be a different place with something like this running rampant across the world. What if anyone you wanted to check on had thirty or forty ratings? I suspect it will not be long before that is what we see…