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For a music community, I want bands to be able to verify themselves. What is the best way to do this?

For example I could let the record label mail me, but some bands are indepedent. I could also ask them to put a 'code' on their website or Facebook page and then check manually.

I'm not per se looking for a waterproof solution, so no scanning of real life documents and I'm okay with doing the checks manually.

In other words, how can you verify real people with their virtual presence?

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If I understand correctly, you are trying to validate identity? That is you want some person that signs up as band X on your site to be legally responsible in some way for band X. Is that the goal? –  jeffatrackaid Aug 18 at 15:06
    
@jeffatrackaid Yes, that's what I'm reasonably trying to achieve. –  Gerben Jacobs Aug 19 at 7:46

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

How much code do you want to write?

One possible way to do this is to have the musician log in to your site with the Facebook account that controls their Facebook page. You can then automatically check with the Facebook API to see if that account actually does have admin access to the band's Facebook page, and then you have instant, hassle-free verification.

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Oh, didn't even think about that. Then all I have to do is verify if their Facebook or Twitter is real, which is relative foolproof. –  Gerben Jacobs Aug 19 at 7:45

Are you afraid from bots and spam? Or from people who pretend to be real bands, but are actually garage amateurs?

I believe it's the latter - Therefore a requirement of a website/social media page for a manual check seems the best way for me. Bands usually put their songs/images/performances.

You can also require a band to have 3 publicly accessible songs (on their own "official" YouTube or other site) before qualifying for being a user.

Does it make sense?

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I'm not sure they will accept to put something on their public website or social media pages. –  Zistoloen Aug 17 at 14:32
    
Yes, it's about 'pretenders'. However I don't mind 'garage amateurs', but when you said "official", that's exactly what I mean. I want to verify that they are who they say they are. (Yes, I know you can never know on the internet) –  Gerben Jacobs Aug 18 at 7:23
    
"Official" in this sense will mean an account that has more than 1 song of a specific band, and is ideally named after their band name. It's quite common, and does not require them too much since Google allows you to make your own "business" YouTube account without too many problems and prerequisites. –  dm-guy Aug 18 at 10:59

You can ask them to post a photo to their social media profile holding a paper in front of them with your site written on it and the date. This proves they control the social media profile, they are specifically referencing your site, and it is a current image.

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2  
It would be fun and good advertising, but a little invasive as well.. –  Gerben Jacobs Aug 18 at 7:21
    
@Gerben Jacobs, what's invasive about this? Intensive (to verify), maybe. –  Kenny Evitt Aug 22 at 1:48

Airbnb solved this issue by using both online and offline indicators.

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/450

However, for your product, this seems a bit excessive but will solve the identity issue.

Online

You can require people to link to their social media accounts such as Facebook & Twitter. This would even open up possibilities in the future to allow your site to scrap info from their feeds or say auto-post tweets/posts.

Offline

This is not really offline - but uses offline information. There are a couple of approaches. You can require a government ID or ask a series of questions based on publicly known information.

Recommendation

I am not sure what risk you are trying to mitigate. If someone misrepresents their identity, then they are committing fraud and your terms of service can address this.

I would just build in the ability to verify an account with a link to a social media site like facebook or twitter. Require that these social accounts be active (say 3 posts in last 30 days). This would provide some assurance.

You can then publish a dispute process that allows any legitimate band to notify you of potential fraud.

This provides reasonable and automated identify verification without spending tons of effort in fixing a problem that you don't actually have (yet).

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In my opinion, a good ID verification would be a non invasive and private process (non visible by all).

The best way is most probably a verification of a government issued id (sent by post or mail) but it's a little bit a heavy process and you don't want to. That's why in your case, I think a Skype call could be the best solution. Just require a thumbnail photo of the band members on their profile page and do a little interview by Skype. You would be able to see the face of the band member and ask few questions to verify the identity.

If you have money for this, you can take a look at this company which can do it for you. I know they are professional but that's all (never used).

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