Bad breakup? Now you can tell the world exactly what your ex did wrong.
ExRated, a new website that allows people to review their exes, aspires to be a Yelp for former flames.
Users can both vet their prospects and vent about old lovers: see what past partners have to say about your upcoming date by searching for his or her name on the site, or leave a rating of your ex, along with any tips for the next guy or gal.
“You wouldn’t go to a restaurant that hasn’t been reviewed. Especially in the era of Internet dating, why would you go on a date with a person who hasn’t been reviewed?” said ExRated founder Tom Padazana, who said the site’s motto is “forewarned is forearmed.”
“I hope this will be a research tool to help people make more educated decisions in dating," he added. "And as the site grows, I think hopefully it will make people better dates because the possibility of being reviewed is out there.”
Exrated is one of a growing number of sites that allow individuals to comment anonymously on others’ performance, personality and preferences. Honestly.com, an “online resource for building, managing and researching professional reputation,” allows colleagues to review their coworkers. College students can discuss their peers' sexual exploits and pledging plans on Blipdar, branded the “leading website for venting, sharing and being yourself,” or dish about their teachers on RateMyProfessors.com.
Yet Exrated is among the first to focus on something as intimate, and potentially incendiary, as romantic relationships, pushing the limits on privacy by pairing real names with any salacious details an ex anonymously chooses to share.
Reviewers fill out a two-page questionnaire that includes details on the type of relationship they had with the person (i.e. “occasional gallop” or “over six months”); tips for getting along with that individual; and their take on what type of relationship he or she is “best suited for,” such as “arm candy,” “drinking buddy,” or “one night stand.” Exes are given an overall score, as well as more detailed rankings for traits like hygiene, intelligence, mojo and thoughtfulness.
Padazana maintains that the site has instituted safeguards against defamatory posts, including the ability to flag abusive posts and a 140-character limit on reviews.
“We’re encouraging people to be succinct so they don’t have the room to get into the dirty-nitty gritty of bad relationships,” Padazana said. “I plan on it being a place where people can’t air their dirty laundry but rather constructively discuss what happened in past relationships.”
But a quick tour of Exrated surfaced no shortage of acrimonious reviews.
“Bring your own Zoloft,” one user wrote of a woman. "Fun in bed, but absolute bonkers out of it. Everyone's conspiring against her, so she thinks (hey, like guys writing bad reviews about her!).”
"Sexy European? More boring Midwest," another said. “OK, she's from Paris, which already gives her hot points, but I've dated girls from Kansas more exciting than her. What's *yawn* in French?”
Though Exrated enables two exes who have rated the same person to connect online, the site does not allow people who have been reviewed to dispute their ratings or offer their side of the story, nor can users preemptively create profiles and invite others to rate them. An ex’s only recourse to combat a bad listing is to recruit a friend who’ll post something positive -- or anonymously rate themselves. Moreover, Exrated offers no guidelines on what it deems acceptable or abusive.
“This is not going to foster constructive discussion,” predicted Internet safety expert Sameer Hinduja, who is co-director of Cyberbullying Research Center. “The only way this site will go viral and get a larger userbase is if the content is salacious, related to sexual exploits, inflammatory, or controversial.”
Yet many exes have received top ratings and even flattering endorsements from their ex-lovers. One is described as a “sweetie” (albeit a finicky eater), while a “good guy” with a five-star rating is called a “very special person -- idealistic, creative, and someone who stands behind his word.”
Hinduja argued the site would be undone by its reliance on unsubstantiated, nameless reviews, pointing to the rise and fall of sites like Juicy Campus, a college gossip site that let users comment anonymously and shut down after less than two years.
“Other sites like this have been flashes in the pan,” he said. “People realize they can’t put stock in anonymous comments. It makes you assume you have something to hide if you won’t say something face to face.”
Will Exrated even get 15 minutes in the spotlight? A paltry number of ratings have been posted so far -- a search for reviews of men and women in New York turned up just 21 entries, including two this reporter created as a test -- and Exrated faces the same catch-22 all new social media sites confront: people will only use the service once enough other users are already using it.
Even Padazana has yet to post a review of his ex-girlfriend.
“She’ll get a good review,” he promised.
Would you use a site like this? What do you think of this idea? Let us know in the comments below.