All About Content Harder to Spam

Posted by Melanie Phung on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Last week I ran across something I hadn’t seen before with online account registrations. Askville (Amazon’s user-generated Q&A forum) requires a cell phone number during the account creation process! That makes it exponentially harder to create multiple user accounts. (Unique email addresses? Puh-leeze.)


According to an email I just got from Research and Markets (disclaimer, I can’t vouch for this market research firm):

U.S. mobile penetration levels are currently at around 80 percent. This translates into roughly 240 million subscribers.

And obviously (obviously?) cell phone adoption by the types of people who would sign up for an Amazon Askville account would be at least a little higher than this. So Amazon is banking that their users will have a cell phone number, and that they’d be willing to give it up. Otherwise they’d be alienating a lot of potential users in a space that’s already a little crowded.

Seems pretty obtrusive to me, but it is does address the problem of people creating multiple user accounts to game the system.

Is this the direction account registration is going to have to go?

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Comments (3)

Category: Spam


Comment by Anonymous

Made Thursday, 19 of July , 2007 at 12:03 am

As an avid “Askviller”, I would say that yes, this kind of account verification has really made a difference in the kinds of things that go on in Askville as compared to, say, Yahoo Answers. We have very little of the “nasty” and immature stuff that you see in Yahoo Answers in Askville, I’m sure mostly because people know that Amazon really knows who you are.
I’m not sure I would want a small child to read the Q&A at Yahoo, but Askville is very family friendly, which is a good thing.

Comment by Melanie Phung

Made Thursday, 19 of July , 2007 at 11:22 am

I play around on Yahoo Answers a lot, and it never struck me as being particularly family un-friendly. It does seem like there are a lot of young people on Yahoo Answers. (I’m making a stereotyped guess here based on spelling and syntax.)

The whole “Amazon really knows who you are” (as in “tied to your purchase history”??) scares me, frankly. But I’ve never given Amazon my cell number; and my phone company isn’t going to release my name and address to Amazon (I’d hope!).

So they still don’t really know who I am. They just want me to think they do. Maybe.

Comment by Lisa

Made Wednesday, 22 of August , 2007 at 3:24 pm

Facebook now allows you to get around captcha verifications by providing a cell phone verification – since I was already planning on installing the mobile integration it didn’t seem intrusive at all, but it would definitely be a site by site decision. I wouldn’t have done the same thing for myspace.

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