Ecademy “Safe Networking” – worth £5 to prove who you are?

11/09/2009 at 3:49 pm 2 comments

You may remember we posted some weeks back about networking site Ecademy’s plan to “verify” users of its site for a fee in order to get a “Safe Networking” badge on their profile.

Ecademy Safe Networking

Ecademy Safe Networking

Along with a website refresh the programme has now gone live and reveals the fee for proving who you to be £5.00.  The aim is, to quote their website, to “allow members to be more confident that the person they are interacting with through the Ecademy Website has verified that they are the person that is being represented in interactions on the site.”

Ecademy Safe Networking page (click to enlarge)

Ecademy Safe Networking page (click to enlarge)

Would you ever doubt it?  Ecademy has a history for banning people from its site, one of the most recent high profile ones being Sarah Arrow who, before her expulsion, was a very regular and valued members of the networking community.  Sarah’s crime was apparently using someone else to masquerade as her; allegedly her mother was signing in as Sarah and contacting other members.  Ecademy felt they needed to terminate the account for the very reason this scheme has been introduced —  members were being contacxted with someone “passing off” as Sarah.  Sarah refuted the claim and has stayed away from Ecademy ever since, finding a new home on WeCanDo.BIZ and BT Tradespace.

If we can put this incident down to a mix-up, previous bannings have not been so ambiguous.  The Powers have their enemies, a community of former members who’ve clashed with the founders on various views and reacted badly to a “heavy handedness” in how they were expelled; some have organised into guerilla groups that often reregister under pseudonyms across the whole web to criticise the management of Ecademy, including the Ecademy site itself.  Perhaps the Safe Networking iniative is as much about keeping these people away?  All members sporting the badge will be required to submit the £5.00 payment with a credit card or PayPal account in their own name, which will doubtless make some of the typical acts of sabotage harder to do.

Whatever the motivations, we’d love to read what you think about the programme: whether you think it’s fair to pay to prove who you are?  Whether you’re pleased to have the confidence such a scheme will give you that you’re dealing with who you think you are?  Also, what you think will happen to Ecademy’s quoted membership figures, which vary in quotes from the team from 170,000 to “over a quarter of a million” once only a number of those will be verified as real people?

Let’s have your opinions!  Just add a reply below.

By the way, watch out for our Ecdemy import tool to enable you to bring your Ecademy contacts to our WeCanDoCRM Social CRM solution next week!


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WeCanDoCRM: the launch… So where’s WeCanDoCRM?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sarah Arrow  |  13/09/2009 at 7:23 am

    HI Ian
    I looked through the verification system when it was first introduced and it seemed no different to how my account was verified when I first joined Ecademy, only now it’s charged for. Accusing people of having a fake account is standard operating procedure on Ecademy.

    It seems to me that all Ecademy wish to do is exploit their members, if paypal can verify your are real by paying in 2 or 3 pence to your account and you confirming the transaction, why do you have to pay Ecademy for something that you already have verified? Paypal pay YOU Ecademy CHARGE you for the same thing….

    More to the point, how many other sites suffer fake accounts? I have never come across a fake account on BT Tradespace or in fact, I cannot recall a social network other than Ecademy that has an issue with fake accounts. I think that says more about how they are managed than how Ecademy is. Is LinkedIn any less trusted as it doesn’t verify members? Does it have the same issue with fake accounts?

    The good news is, like you say in your blog, you can soon use the CRM facility to export your contacts because you never know, verified or not whether you are going to be banned on Ecademy.

  • […] may have seen our post last week on Ecademy’s introduction of a Safe Networking programme to verify accounts so its members […]

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