Google (NYSE:GOOG) run community and social networking site Orkut.com has of late become a lawless jungle aiding all criminal and illegal activities. While several bloggers and media have written a lot either supporting or blaming orkut, in this post I try to find a solution for this, a suggestion which appears expensive but if implemented will make Orkut a much much better and safer place on internet.
Current concerns with orkut:
2. No counter check mechanism to prevent creation of fake profiles,
3. One individual may have multiple online identities with different user names,
4. Physical identity of a member is difficult to trace,
5. Profiles are twisted with malicious intentions.
What is the solution?
Verify physical identity of each member by collecting a physical copy of their identity proof (Passport, Driving License etc).
How to go about it?
Verifying identity of millions of members will be a time consuming and expensive process, but this will give lots of benefits as explained later in this post. In essence, Google should insist that all members should send (by snail mail/fax/email) a copy of their identity proof to the nearest Google office (or to a trusted agency’s office to which this work is outsourced).
Once the proof is received, it needs to verified and mapped to corresponding Orkut user ID, with one field called full name and one profile photo replaced with the photo and name in the identity proof and these 2 are to be made non editable. While user may change his/her nick name, add/delete other photos, these two primary information remain unchanged serving as online identity proof.
Next Google should send a new PIN number/passcode by post to the residential address (as in address proof) given by the member which he/she shall be required to enter online once. This verifies the physical address of the member
Why this solution would work?
Because almost all members who get involved in unlawful and bad activities often use false identity. If we can ensure that no one can come online with a fake identity, most of the problems should get resolved, because usually people do not dare do such activities under their real identity which they otherwise would have done without hesitation under a false name.
1. Those who have fake profiles will fail to provide an identity proof (chances of some one being capable of fake identity proof as well is relatively rare), hence all fake profiles can be identified and removed over a period of time.
2. One will not be able to impersonate someone else or have dozens of identities.
Orkut will contain only those individuals whose identity is verified, which brings down online crime rate since a member can be easily traced if he/she indulges in illegal activities online.
Google verified online identity may also serve as identity proof for other online activities outside orkut.
1. Advertising revenue may drop for Google in initial days since majority of usage is by fake profile users than genuine ones.
While it looks like a cumbersome process to check each member credentials, I feel it is very much feasible and worth investing in. Google has a similar mechanism for Adsense publishers wherein a valid physical contact address is a must. Some expense can be recovered by sending relevant advertisements by post. That can be extended to Orkut users as well.
Let me know what you think of this idea... Good? Not Feasible? Please drop a comment.
Related: Yaari Desktopdating and other ill mannered websites| Orkut and Employee productivity|Orkut as Marketing Tool * A missing feature in our social networking sites
More: Orkut Login page| Hari’s post on Orkut|Why hate hate communities?