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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Website review - of YOU. You as a person, a parent, a co-worker. Are you a 4 star hotshot or a 1 star jackass? Find out at Unvarnished.com.

It was only a matter of time (and something that has crossed The Civil Lawyer Online's mind in recent weeks)  . . . let's rate YOU.  Yes, you.  You as a person.  You as a parent.  You as a co-worker.  Your driving style. Your cell phone manners. Your gym locker room etiquette (to you certain guys who are a little too 'free' in the locker room - those towels really belong around your torsos, post-shower - cover it up, thank you). Whether you clean the office microwave after you use it.  You get the picture, right?

Well, now others can get the picture.  Welcome to Unvarnished.com, a website which allows others to discuss your merits and mediocrities. No, there's no set topic, no set guide on how to do it, not really.  Once it's fully up and running, you just log on, sign up, claim your own profile, comment on other people, respond to comments about you, and so forth.

So . . . does this make you nervous?  It should! There is no reason to think that any of us will get only 'positive' ratings and reviews, or that such ratings and reviews will be accurate. Think about the next time you: a) go on a date; b) apply for a job; or c) attend a teacher-parent conference.  Will information about you impact such things?  And then there is the other side of the coin: will Unvarnished.com end up with information about how your date went, whether you got the job, or whether your child's teacher thinks your parenting skills are lacking?

While this is really just a natural evolution of other "social media" and ratings databases, it's going to open a whole new can of worms . . . or perhaps only further open the Pandora's Box cranked wide by Facebook, MySpace and others. Maybe we'll make a bit more of an effort to be courteous, and a bit more concerned about negative encounters with others. Apparently, the reviews will be anonymous from the customer's standpoint, but not so anonymous from the perspective of the folks who run Unvarnished.com. As for me, I think anonymous reviews should be limited, if a way can be found to do so, or prohibited altogether.  I realize that there are circumstances in which there would be good and valid reasons to allow such reviews, but it seems to me that folks need to own up to their words - and their deeds.

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As an attorney, perhaps the advent of such personal rating & review databases should make me cackle with glee. It remains to be seen whether such postings will be protected and to what extent, and how defamation laws will adapt.



Right now, I can think of two people I'd like to review.

Where: Miami airport.

When: December, 2009.

Who:  A young couple and the toy dog that she was oh-so-fond and loving of, treating it like a newborn baby.

Why: The boyfriend was proudly sporting a Philadelphia Eagles 'Michael Vick' jersey.



The irony seemed lost on them . . . that toy dog would have been a mere snack for Vick's fighting dogs.



Ratings: 1 star out of 5.