Rate.ee devours the time of thousands of teenagers and their parents’ money

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The little girl, smiling diligently, poses with her whole body in front of the camera. All in order to win friends, or translated into the language of the portal rate to earn dozens and fame.

An Italian Giovanni Sposato, who was well-known in Estonia at the time, commented on a photograph of a twelve-year-old girl from Estonia — she is perfect, perfect — and asks her to tell her parents: “Well done”. A rustic Estonian middle-aged man does not possess such a sophisticated syllable and directly informs the girl who barely had time to celebrate her tenth birthday that she is sexy.

The portal has its own army of fans, mostly teenagers, who are willing to spend more than one hour daily, commenting on photos of users, typing fame (fame in the portal), pick up skins (background pictures or wallpapers) and statuses (compliments), hand out sevens and tens (maximum points ) and pose for all new and new photos posted on the portal.

There is room to grow

However, there is a portal and critics who are outraged by this kind of “sale” of the child’s body, accompanied by a waste of time and money. The other day on the pages of Postimees with sharp criticism of the portal made the head of IBM Eesti Valdo Randper. Another concern for the portal is IT specialist Linnar Viik, who advises Eesti Mobiiltelefon (EMT), who purchased rate.ee, to provide services to Estonian society and close the portal.

According to Wijk, the daily millions of requests to the rate.ee server mean that every day the portal devours approximately 53,000 man-hours, which is equivalent to a full working day of approximately 6,500 people.

The founder of rate.ee, Andrei Korobeinik, acknowledges that some sessions last for six hours in a row, but the average length of stay at the portal, he said, is still significantly shorter, about 15 minutes.

“It’s no better to kill time, staggering through the streets, we cannot force children to read books,” Korobein argues.

He is pleased with the virtual world he created. The portal appeared in 2002 and in April last year Korobeinik sold it for 39 million kroons to EMT, retaining a small block of shares.

Currently, the portal has 335,000 users, more than half of them are young people from 16 to 21 years old. “There is much to grow, namely in the direction of the older age groups,” the creator of the portal outlines a new perspective.

During the day, the portal is visited by up to 150,000 people per week – 350,000. According to Korobeinik, 78 percent of users have schoolchildren from the 6th grade to the graduates of the gymnasium.
“A few years ago we held a competition among schoolchildren, each finalist had to open his own page on the portal, there were about 90 participants, and only two did not have one,” he describes the rate phenomenon.

“Most of all on the portal are photos of beautiful girls,” says the creator of the portal. In order not to allow too frank photos, according to Korobeinik, photos are subjected to control, and every 20-30s photo does not pass it.

Indeed, photos of a ten-year-old girl in lingerie and in sexual poses posted a few weeks ago have already disappeared. However, others appeared instead. Likewise with foul language and abuse.

According to Korobeinik, 99.9 percent of comments are quite decent, but to fight against obscene it is possible to block access to the page. “People know that no one will insult others, they can go to Delfi,” Korobein says.

The owners of the portal admit that too explicit children’s photos from time to time skip because the number of users and photos is very large. “However, in five years we have not had a single case of pedophilia,” says Korobeinik.

According to him, all correspondence between adults and children is recorded. “If a parent finds out something doubtful, he can go to the police, and we have all the necessary data,” he explained. The peddler claims that having sexual overtones of forty-four-year-olds to underage users is extremely rare.

However, underage rate users themselves say something else. For example, 14-year-old Maarja cites as an example two letters received in her mailbox. In one of them, a Turkish man asks: “hello do you want cyber sex cam to cam”, and in the other someone who signed, according to the girl, “some dude” writes: “Hello, would you be interested in a romantic sex evening together?” in the bath?”

Enticing services

In many articles about the rate, the predatory capitalism prevailing on the portal, when services that attract teenagers, devour not only their pocket money, but also decent amounts from parental wallets.

In addition to the highly profitable mobile calling card for EMT rate, the money of young portal users goes to SOL. This is the name of the currency rate, which can be obtained by ordering via SMS, calling or making a bank transfer. At retail for 10 crowns you can buy 4.37 SOL, the wholesale price is slightly lower. For SOL, you can order your own wallpaper, statuses and maximum points, or tens.

Some teenagers for the purchase of the cherished SOL use other people’s mobile phones. Last fall, a 13-year-old boy from Põlva inflicted a damage of about 5,000 crowns to his friend in this way.

The peddler admits that large accounts create problems for families, but it is not only the portal itself that is to blame. “A mobile phone is abducted and SOL is ordered with its help, and if the bill is 1,500 kroner, then parents, of course, begin to be outraged. However, it is necessary to contact the police here, ”advises Korobeinik. However, according to him, recently he has not heard of such complaints.

Deputy Chairman of the Board of Telekom, who became the main owner of the rate a year ago, Valdo Calma believes that the acquisition of the portal was a very reasonable step. The commercial model is still very profitable and the mobile connection ratemobiil has been very well received. Now the rate mobiil has about 40,000 users, which, according to Kalma, is a serious indicator.

SOL Calm did not disclose the turnover, noting that this is an internal matter of the company. “Of course, on the scale of the company, it’s not about sums worthy of special mention,” said Kalm.

Evaluating the content side of the portal, Kalm recognizes that the system of voluntary moderators justifies itself. “It is difficult to censor the Internet, it is possible only within certain limits,” said Kalm, who acknowledges that his 13-year-old son is a user of the rate, and he sees no reason to forbid him from doing so. The portal’s users are also children of EMT’s Chief Information Officer, Cai Pino.

“The abuse of paid telephone services in this environment is the same problem as in all other cases,” Pino said. “Who is a scoundrel by nature, he will remain so in any sphere, the rate is neither better nor worse,” she said.

Communication portal rate.ee

• The largest communication portal in Estonia, whose users comment on each other’s photos.

• Portal rate.ee was founded in 2002 by Andrey Korobeinik. In April last year, he sold a controlling stake to EMT for 39 million kroons.

• The portal has more than 335,000 users, more than half of them in the age group 16-21 years. Up to 150,000 people visit it daily, 350,000 a week.

• For the portal currency rate.ee, which is called SOL, you can purchase wallpaper, status or tens – the maximum photo rating score. SOL allows you to change the name and date of birth of the user, open someone’s closed pages, add photos out of turn, purchase bonuses, change the club and chat in the chat.

• The portal has 164 moderators and 7 senior moderators, whose task is to monitor compliance with the rules.

• The rate.ee portal has 159,784,684 comments and 278,301,531 emails. An average of 5,000 new photos per day.

Moderator rate.ee: do not have to spend money

Olar – Moderator Rate, one of more than 150 portal administrators working in this area for three years. Olar did not want to give his last name.

Is it realistic to keep up with more than 335,000 users behaving decently?

People themselves inform about the violators. If this is true, then the culprit can be punished. At first we make a warning, and if this does not help, then block the page.

How many users don’t follow the rules?

During the day we get a dozen two complaints. There is a group of people opening pages to insult others.

How do you feel about photos with semi-nude minors?

We try to prevent the demonstration of underwear and outright exposure to naked, as well as pictures with alcohol and cigarettes. Some pictures can slip, because the moderators make mistakes. Later we remove these photos.

Why do young people spend time and money on the rate?

Still, the main thing – communication. A person demonstrates himself and sees with whom he communicates. So much easier to find new friends. No need to spend money. Those who do not order additional services, no one drives from the site.

Rate attracts and doubtful public. How do you protect children?

We do not get tired of repeating: do not tell anyone your MSN passwords and rate, even to your friends.

“Well, and you have fat fat bastard”

Portals like rate.ee undermine faith in information technology as a guarantee of progress. Valdo Randper walked through the pages of the popular portal rate.ee and decided that since the owners of this Internet environment are Estonia and Sweden through EMT and Eesti Telekom, they should demand one of two things: to establish censorship on the portal or close it.

There is a legend among computer scientists about how in the early eighties, Steve Jobs persuaded PepsiCo’s then-PepsiCo manager John Scully to go to work at Apple Computer. In order to entice Scully from his very prestigious and well-paid position for a job at that time still a relatively small and little-known Apple company, Steve Jobs asked him: “John, do you want to live life selling sweetened water or do you want to change the world?” Everything else already a story.

In 1986, when I went to work in the field of computer technology, I was not faced with such an intriguing question. Just a friend Peeter asked me once, when I had already lost hope after two years of unsuccessful searching for at least some work, do I not agree to go to one editorial office with his relative to sell newspaper ads?

Of course, I agreed. Not because I wanted to change the world, but because I just wanted to get at least some work. By chance, it turned out to be Computer Sweden newspaper, and everything else is history. My history.

An important part of this story is that after a while I also believed that what I was doing makes the world a better place. Twenty years later, the belief in information technology as a pillar of progress began to crack. Of course, out of curiosity, you ask why? I will give three examples and the reason given by life itself.

We have a family problem. Our ten-year-old daughter wants to become a registered user of the portal rate, but her father, i.e. I’m against. My daughter explained to me that all others had already registered and mocked her, since she had not yet been registered.

I feel like a retrograde, but for now I’m holding on, because I have a negative attitude to this portal for a long time. I have always inspired my children that it is impossible to evaluate other people and, especially, to tease them.

I told them this a thousand times, and I really hope that if at school some of the children are being teased, then there are no mine among the teasers, and maybe they even protect the offended.

The commercial idea of ​​the rate is diametrically opposite – it encourages people to evaluate each other by appearance and even take money from them. In my opinion, the portal rate is focused primarily on adolescents who could not realize themselves or declare themselves in school or hobbies. They are trying to do this with the help of the portal rate.ee, and the results, to say the least, are strange.

Business idea rate

I explained to my daughter why, in my opinion, she could easily be different from others and not be registered in rate.ee. But since this was not enough, then one evening we sat down with my daughter at the computer and took a short tour of this super popular website.

For a start, we looked at the pages of her friends and acquaintances, and through them went to the pages of their virtual friends. Ten minutes later, her daughter’s enthusiasm for the rate had evaporated. By that time, we had already, for example, read a comment by a ten-year-old girl regarding a photo of her contemporaries: “In full, stupid photo, I know you, everyone thinks you are b …, you fool, when you go in winter in a mini-skirt”. And the comment of an 11-year-old girl about the beach snapshot of her peers: “Well, you have fat fagots on fats.”

After that, the daughter left me, and more she did not have a desire to register in the rate. At least this crown is now off the agenda. I also looked through the pages of the portal and now the editorial board is to decide in any way that the comments I have found should be censored.

A ten-year-old boy posted a photo in which he lies on the floor after the “cool holiday”. A certain 13-year-old girl receives from the boy a response to a doubtful comment: “w …, you stuff it into your p …, monkey, carrion, go ahead …, w …, you are even drunk never been, n … “.

I think enough comments. These texts are available to our children without any censorship in the publicly accessible part of rate.ee. In addition, there is an environment for communication, where outsiders, like me, are not allowed. And what is written there, you can only imagine.

Some clarifications. Since I was in rate.ee for about an hour, it is clear that I saw only a tiny bit of that swearing that blooms on the pages of the portal.

It is just as sad that if we discard foulness, then 99 percent of the rest of the text is absolute emptiness. Well, how can we evaluate the comments of 10–12-year-olds à la “differently? You are so sexy, you are so foul that you do if I kill myself, amphetamine leads to impotence, etc. etc.”

Censorship or prohibition

What do you think, after this brief surfing on the pages of the rate my opinion about the portal has become better or worse? And ask yourself, do you know what your children do when they sit at the computer? And I didn’t even touch on the controversy that calls rate a garden for pedophile goats.

But I have more questions. For example, I would feel better if the owner of the rate was not EMT, but some Lasnamäe guys. Quite possibly. It probably wouldn’t have changed anything, but a firm with the strongest Estonian brand should not associate itself with such things.

Moreover, it is much worse that the Republic of Estonia and the Kingdom of Sweden also act as the owners of this portal through EMT and Eesti Telekom. I am a citizen of both of these states, and I am ashamed of them. I urge both states to use their right to ownership and to do one of two things: introduce censorship on the portal or close it altogether.

Recently, a development fund was created in Estonia, the purpose of which is to invest in innovative projects. For the initiative, the state transferred to the fund a three percent stake in Eesti Telekom. My proposal to fund managers – as a first investment, buy back, please rate.ee and close it forever.

And finally. For a start, the owners of rate.ee could at least respect the will of the owners of computers who blocked their computers from entering their website. Remove from your site instructions and software that removes blocking from entering the portal. Now the visitor sees the following words on your site:

“Unlocking Rate.ee

Run the program (the name and address of the program), it will release the RATE.EE lock from wherever it is possible! Write this address on paper – then you can run this program in any computer where there are problems calling at Rate.ee. If there are problems with Rate.ee, this address will help you! And if it does not help, then contact the network operator, ”etc.

In my opinion, such instructions and appeals smack of a violation of the law. And if this is not the case, then the time has come for the legislator to give it a legal assessment.

At the beginning of the article, I promised to give three examples that made me doubt the progressiveness of information technologies as a phenomenon. Since rate.ee has devoured a lot of typed characters, and it’s too late already, let’s dwell on what has already been written. And we will continue this topic, if God gives, in a week or two.

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