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Wisdom of crowds gets personal

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Tired of twiddling with wiki biographes and writing unpaid reviews for Amazon? Perhaps you'd like to rate your co-worker, or boss, now that the wisdom of crowds has been applied to the great American public.

In what must surely be the last gasp of Web 2.0 insanity we report the launch of PersonRatings, a site where visitors can rate people, anyone, with complete anonymity. Just enter their name, tick some boxes and leave a comment or two, which should in no way be driven by personal animosity or thirst for revenge.

People - well, Americans - are rated by their intelligence, confidence, friendliness, kindness, energy, sex appeal, success, wit, class* and trustworthiness, and anyone is free to log on and contribute their opinion. The idea is that the crowd will weed out extremes of opinion and the result will be an accurate and impartial description of the person concerned - which is about as likely as Greenpeace developing an independent nuclear deterrent.

Like Wikipedia the site is dependent on legions of unpaid contributors motivated by nothing more than a wish to contribute to the greater good - it comes as no surprise that Jimbo Wales features as one of the most popular profiles on PersonRatings.

Unlike Wikipedia, PersonRatings is intending to make money though advertising, though it seems more likely the service will quietly disappear when the crowds decide they've got better things to do than rate their friends and colleagues for the benefit of targeted advertisers. ®

*No, we don't know what that means in this context either.

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