For almost as long as the internet has existed there have been websites dedicated to the harsh public scrutiny of strangers. Smile at the camera they may, but there will be no halting the nerds finger of judgement as it falls mercilessly upon the mouse …. 4 out of 10, 7 out of 10, 1 out of 10….
So in that sense there is nothing new nor imaginative about the website ratemash.com (which I keep accidentally typing materash.com). Users are given a series of photos to judge and as per convention the spectrum ranges from “hot” down to “not”. What makes ratemash.com stand out is the notable lack of anonymity.
Ratemash collects user profiles from Facebook before sorting them by university, and the top 50 are then ranked with links through to their Facebook profiles. The users can request for their details to be removed but not before public judgement has been passed. The website has argued that it is just a bit of fun designed to “make it easier to meet new people in universities and to make going out cheaper, more fun and seamless.” Clearly university has changed since I left because I’m not sure I see the connection.
According to the Huffington Post, Facebook are looking into the website following a sudden wave of complaints. The irony of course being that Facebook itself began life in 2003 as a site where users could rate their fellow campus residents. In fact it was called Facemash, a connection the founders of Ratemash were clearly determined to highlight.
The 19 year old founder of Ratemash, Michael Healy, has reportedly injected £30k of his own money into the venuture, but with a confusing user experience and fewer than a thousand fans on Facebook, it seems the site is struggling with its own public rating.