OPW INTERVIEW – Sep 1 – Mary Haskett is the CEO of BeehiveID, who are focused on helping Internet dating sites authenticate users. (Full Disclosure: BeehiveID is a client of Courtland Brooks) – Mark Brooks
Tell me how you understand fraud issues in the dating industry and the negative consequences?
I’ve changed my perspective since I started working with the online dating industry about a year ago. My background is working for the DoD.
The problem is that everyone online is anonymous and totally unaccountable for their actions. The question isn’t “Who are you?” but “Can I hold you accountable if you turn out to be a jerk?”
Most of the fraud in the online dating industry is peer-to-peer fraud. An impostor poses as a love interest, lures the victim into a romance, and ransacks his or her finances. They aren’t directly defrauding the dating site (we’re talking about users defrauding each other) but there are negative consequences to the reputation of the site.
But accountability is not just about the obvious scam, it is about accountability for community standards. For example, on one dating site it might be super-important that you are a vegetarian. In real-life societies, we always hold people accountable for whatever the standards of our group might be. Online, we can’t do that because people can always come back under new identities.
How does BeehiveID resolve these key fraud issues and what are the features and benefits?
We ensure that customers who create an online account are real. However, we don’t need to know any personal information. We just know they are real and unique, and that is enough to enforce accountability.
We have two primary methods – one is “selfie authentication” where a user makes a short video with a webcam or phone and the other uses social sites (LinkedIn, Facebook and Google).
How much does it cost?
It starts at $1 per verification for very low volumes and can go as low as $0.15 per verification for large volumes.
How easily is it too implement?
It is very easy to implement. There are two options. For sites with low volume or no technical team at all, they just send an email to their members inviting them to verify their identity with BeehiveID. The email includes a link to a branded page that guides them through the process. We then create a web report of all the users that we have verified and they manually check the report each day and update that user’s profile to denote their verified status.
For sites who want to automate the process, they add a graphical button in the new account creation process. This button pops up the BeehiveID window and we verify their ID. Then we send the results to a web end point that they have to create.
Do you offer trials?
Yes. We also have a program for startups to let them use BeehiveID for free while they are building up their user base.
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