Gleamd, a user-generated "Digg of people," as it has been called, launched this week with new features and a refreshed design from its beta program.
The core of Gleamd is a database of people, pictures, and biographies. Registered users can update the data just as they can in a wiki. Nothing revolutionary there; in fact, Gleamd is very basic, and it lacks a solid revision tracker like Wikipedia.
Gleamd also doesn't claim to be an inclusive or automatic people search engine like Wink or Spock. Users need to create records and update them manually.
What makes the site different is its ranking engine. For each person in the database, Gleamd tracks how many people have clicked on their little Digg-like voting buttons. You can also view people by category, although since Gleamd is focused on Internet personalities, the categories are a bit unbalanced--for example, of the 22 categories, there are three related to blogging (podcaster, vlogger, blogger). I imagine this will change when the database grows.
Users can also comment on other people, which is where the service goes from fun to useful. It's potentially valuable to see comments on a person you are considering doing business with, for example. Existing networks such as LinkedIn and RapLeaf also have reputation and recommendation systems. The Gleamd system is a lot simpler and easier to use.
At the moment, comments in Gleamd appear to be useful and friendly. But I could see it turning nasty, so there should be a way to bury user comments and hide posts from people whose comments you don't want to read. Perhaps that will come in the future.
I like Gleamd. But I'm not sure it will have an ongoing place on the Net alongside well-funded people databases like LinkedIn, Plaxo, Spock, Wink, Facebook, or even Wikipedia or Freebase. Gleamd's simplicity does set it apart, but the other sites could easily add Gleamd features or build offshoot products to take it on.