My 4/11/10 Missoulian column
Many of us are familiar with social networking services where we post profiles, photos and information about ourselves in order to network with families and friends. And many of us also use the millions of blogs and forums available on the Internet, discussing and giving feedback on seemingly every good and service available in the world.
But what would we get if we crossed social networking with the ability to give unrestricted reviews? What if there was a Web site that was a combination of Facebook, personal profiles and a movie review forum, giving anyone the ability to post exactly what they wanted to say about anyone? And no one – not even the individual in question – could do anything about it?
A Web site like that would have interesting possibilities (to put it mildly) and perhaps be a legal nightmare. But it’s not a joke. It’s real, and it’s called Unvarnished, and it’s coming soon to a PC near you.
Unvarnished is in private beta right now – which means a testing phase, at (Website is gone) – but when it goes live, it will do exactly what it says: present anything that anyone wants to write about that person in their profile. The site already has more than 400,000 profiles, gathered mostly on Silicon Valley residents, where the site developers are based.
You will be able to “claim” your Unvarnished profile, but won’t be able to take it down. The founder of Unvarnished, Peter Kazanjy, says that if they gave people the ability to take their profile down, “everyone would.”
So people will have to take every review, good and “unvarnished.” But in a nod to the more advanced forms of blogging and forums, the Unvarnished user community can vote on how helpful a review is, and the more positive ratings given by an individual reviewer, the better the rank of that reviewer.
Out of curiosity, I signed up for the public beta – at (Website is gone) by linking my Facebook profile – but I’m sure there are thousands of people ahead of me and I doubt I will get an invite. Just out professional curiosity, mind you.
I’m not worried about what people might be able to say about me. (Well, maybe). And if I receive an invite and get a look at Unvarnished, I’ll cover it right here.
This week in Mac Q & A: Converting a QuickBooks File