I have only been practicing aiki for a year with 6 months in two separate dojos. Each dojo has two different approaches to rank. The first school I started with(Juko-Kai Dai-yoshin Ryu aikijutsu) had the colored belts and stripes to mark our progression. My second school (Aikikai Aikido, Florida Aikido) has the white belt/ black belt system. And the ranks are posted on the wall.
I really got myself caught in that trap of ranking when I saw someone get promoted before me in my first school. This really is more of a character issue for me since I do have a competitive nature. But I have found in the Aikikai school that I forget about who is what rank and that I am able to focus on my training.