Thursday, March 12, 2009

How drunk would you have to be...?

Introducing perhaps the dumbest business idea since sliced ketchup:

It's a website where you can rate anyone. Well, any American, anyway. You get to award marks out of five in each of ten categories: smart, sexy, confident, successful, friendly, funny, kind, classy, energetic, trustworthy. The score you see displayed for a person is based on the average rating they've received.

I don't know where to begin - but it doesn't matter, because none of my readers are demented enough to imagine for a microsecond that this sounds like a neat idea. Even the site's founder doesn't want to put his hand up to it: the only contact address given is for a "jerry.smith". Searching for "jerry smith" on PersonRatings turns up - nothing.

So whose brainchild is it? Turns out to belong to one Jeremy Stamper, of Seattle, WA. Mr Stamper, you may be reassured to learn, clocks a solid two out of five stars in each of the ten categories - meaning that, in the aggregate opinion of random people on the 'net, he's "not very" smart, successful, sexy etc.

Possibly Mr Stamper is hoping to capitalise on the Facebook Effect - that once you've got a profile, it's practically impossible to remove it, so you have no choice but to keep maintaining it for as long as the site owner chooses to hold you to ransom. Or possibly it's all some elaborate April Fool's joke that's broken early.

A Google search reveals that Mr Stamper made his first career, and name, in real estate. And now he's gone into publishing. Which, I guess, should be enough to tell us all exactly what I should think of him...

Just a couple of gems from the FAQ:
Why is Anonymous Free Speech important?
We should all be very protective of our right to express our opinions without being required to register with the government or any other entity. After all, why should governments, employers, or anyone else be tracking our personal opinions and beliefs. The American tradition of anonymous free speech is older than the United States itself. In fact, the anonymous publication of the Federalist Papers was vital to the birth of the United States. [And so on, but you get the gist.]
I swear, I'm not making this up. It gets funnier:
I see a post that isn't true. Will you remove it?
It is impossible for us to determine the legitimacy or veracity of posts. Even courts of law are seldom capable of this. With the amount of content that is posted, it is impractical for any service provider to scrutinize user generated content. We appreciate your help in trying to keep the site content legal and on topic. However, Personratings is not the author of posted content and is not obligated to remove content posted by users except in very rare circumstances. We believe that the best response to offensive free speech is not censorship, but instead more free speech. Readers will use their own criteria to evaluate the credibility of posts.

So feel free to visit Mr Stamper's profile and write - anonymously, of course - whatever takes your fancy. With a bit of determination, in six months' time, his name could be synonymous with "noted duck-rapist".

Addendum: Jeremy Stamper has added himself as a follower of this blog. Nice to see you, Jeremy - hope you enjoy it. But it does mean paragraph 3 of the above entry is probably no longer true. All the same, I'm leaving it now for the sake of Historical Integrity, or something.


Ruby Apolline said...

Gods help us. I feel so sorry for the poor First Amendment, dragged out to justify peoples' not wanting to get in social trouble for being asses (although not mentioned specifically, I see it lurking in Mr. Stamper's statements you've quoted).

vet said...

I know exactly what you mean. Some people seem oddly unable to see that the connection between "freedom" and "accountability" isn't just a fantasy or an arbitrary social rule invented by adults to spoil their fun: it's a logical necessity.

Although he doesn't actually invoke the constitution directly, he does quote the Supreme Court...

Thank goodness, out here in the civilised world, we have libel laws. Granted they hardly ever work unless you're obscenely rich, but I think their existence would be enough to suppress this effort from spreading.