Last weekend I was in Los Angeles and had some time to kill, so I went shopping — alone. I found a dress I really liked and the sales assistant told me it looked great (of course). When I got back to New York and tried the dress on for my husband, he hated it. Should I return it?
I uploaded a picture of the dress and posed the question on Honestly Now to find out. The website and iPhone app (free at Apple.com) let you tap your friends, or the whole Honestly Now community, for their opinion on everything from fashion to your best headshot photo to how much the tooth fairy should pay for a tooth.
Here’s how it works. First you need to join the Honestly Now community. You can get an invitation from the founder Tereza Nemessanyi on her profile page. Then you need to connect with your friends. Once you’re a member you can invite people. To ensure anonymity among your friends (and ostensibly, even more honesty), you need at least five friends.
Questions can be text or include photos and can be posed as multiple choice or as yes-or-no. Then you choose who you poll: everyone or just your friends. Your friends and any of the pros that you "heart" will be notified that you’ve asked a question, and you just have to sit back and let the responses roll in.
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When your friends answer your question, their responses are anonymous. As Nemessanyi says, "The marketplace for honesty in the analog world is highly imperfect. Our friends frequently don’t tell us the truth. So we make it easy for them to be honest with you."
Once someone has answered a question, they can see percentages for how everyone else responded. So answering questions can become highly addictive.
The pros who are part of the community include Hollywood Life Editor Bonnie Fuller, image guru Montgomery Frazier, fashion designer Marc Bouwer, beauty expert Rachel Hayes, etiquette maven Erin Newkirk and photographer Liz Brown, among others. The pros can post comments on your question, giving additional advice or explaining their answer. Only pros can post comments.
Of course there are other opinion options out there. But they don’t provide the same specialized experience. For instance, OpinionAided.com and the iPhone app OpinionAided (free at Apple.com) let you target your questions by gender and to an age range. They also let you filter the questions you answer by age and content. However anyone can leave a comment and there’s a less serious bent to the questions, when they’re questions at all. For example, someone uploaded a picture of blueberry pancakes taken with the question “You gotta love IHOP.”
There’s also the fashion-oriented Fashism.com and its iPhone app, Fashism Mobile (free at Apple.com), which cater to a teen and twenties audience. They let you see other people’s comments and their votes before you give your input, which makes for good browsing, but inevitably biases the responses you get.
So how did my dress fare on Honestly Now? Right now, 75 percent say I should keep it. But I also got a comment on my dress from image guru Frazier. He says, "At present, this dress makes your hair look mousey and lifeless! If you were to keep this dress, which is actually flattering for your body, but not for your coloring, I would advise to color your hair a deep rich red, or auburn color." Yikes! Since I’m not planning on coloring my hair, I think it may be going back.
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