How do you know that I, Barry Rafkind, am a real person who is authoring this blog post? Maybe this name is just a pseudonym for somebody else? Until now, you’ve had to trust that I am who I say I am. But, now there is a brand new online service called Validize which allows anyone to authenticate him or herself and then display a “badge” on blogs to prove their identity.
Why does this matter? Can’t we usually tell when someone is being fake online? Well, actually no we can’t. It’s very easy to make false claims and impersonate other people. Furthermore, some people claim to be professionals – doctors, lawyers, teachers, politicians, etc… – and give false, misleading, or even harmful advice or claims. Unfortunately, that is the down-side to an open and free internet. But, now at least there’s a way for people to prove that they are who they say they are.
The way this Validize service works is that you register an account through Validize.com. A credit card is necessary, but social security number is optional. Then, you’ll be asked a series of very personal questions that only you would know. Once you pass the questionnaire, Validize will consider you authenticated. Then, you decide which information (name, city+state, phone #, age, gender, etc…) to display on your “badge”.
The badge is like a seal of authenticity that will display next to your posts and comments on blogs that allow it, like Somerville Voices. By hovering your pointer over the Validize icon, your badge will pop-up to display the information you selected.
The badge appears next to all your posts even if you wrote them before you enabled it. But it will only display next to your comments written after you enabled the badge. Once you register with Validize, you’ll need to come back to the blog and enable the badge through your profile using the Validize link in the dashboard menu.
Currently, they offer a Personal badge as well as a Professional badge. The professional badge involves verification of professional credentials such as licenses, education, etc…Business and Non-Profit badges are coming soon to help unify a single brand whenever an employee represents the organization.
To get started with Validize, sign up for a beta tester account by following the directions midway down the Validize.com homepage. I know the guys behind this new service and they are looking for honest feedback, so any questions or comments you have would be appreciated!