I suppose this has been a long time coming, probably should have been posted when the process first began. Sometimes it's a little hard to stop and explain the ideas in more detail but that also doesn't make sense, since we end up explaining scattered around the forum anyway. So here goes the ideas and thought behind the Verified Member process. A little history, I've been charged with management of the Classifieds for over 2 years now. In the beginning, we saw very little reports of fraud but as the forum grows, so does particular areas of the forum and the Classified section is definitely not immune to this growth. Everyone likes a good deal or wants to pass on those things they no longer need or want. In the latter part of 2011, fraud complaints had not only increased in quantity but also in severity. The month of November was monumental for the Classified section, with fraud complaints totaling close to $2,000, from various reports. One scammer was able to defraud 3 members of over $1,000 on her own. This month was the catalyst in developing a more safe area for our members to buy/sell/trade. The month of December we assembled a team of staff members and active Classified members to begin discussing how we would make our Classifieds a better more safe environment. Some of the ideas from this group included the Verified Member process (along with the methods of verification), the new feedback system (iTrader), and form based ad submission. The reason for the Verified Member process was before members were anonymous, which left us with no recourse should the scam members out of their money and disappear. Sure, you might say “Well, it is a buyer beware forum” but that's no excuse to allow your members to be scammed out of their hard earned money or possessions. Many have asked “Well why does both buyer and seller have to be verified?” The reason is, scamming is a 2 way street. The buyer and seller can commit fraud. The seller can never ship the item and the buyer can file claims with PayPal (or whomever) that the item was never shipped. So both parties are required to be verified for this reason. One other method introduced to help protect the members is the iTrader app that's used to track member's transaction history. The benefits of this system is obvious, so I won't delve into explaining this further. It is something our members have been asking to be implemented for as long as I can remember and we agreed! This not only provides the member with their history but it also provides staff records of poor members, which in turn may attribute to their removal from the Classifieds. So please use the system, it's very useful. The form based submission system was introduced to standardize how ads would be displayed, titles and subject matter. This system has probably received as much negative opinion as the Verified Member process. In the beginning it was changed quite frequently, in attempts to make it as eye pleasing as possible. We feel we reached a happy medium in the appearance we have now. Will everyone be happy with it? No, there's really no way to make it perfect for everyone, there are too many variables to consider and obviously it just can't be done. The purpose of standardizing it was to make it where when the member loads the ad, the information is always included and in it's perspective location. Previously we had much trouble with members leaving pertinent information out of their ads, with the form, this information is ask of the poster so the information will be included. In conclusion, I first want to thank those members who helped in making the Classifieds what it is today, the team members as well as the other members who patiently and politely voiced their opinions after the launch. For those who feel the Verified Member process is excessive and invasive, you might not feel this way if you were one of the ones that lost hundreds of dollars before when the Classified section was considered the “Wild West”. Keep in mind also, the information we are asking for is publicly obtainable information. This information you provide is only viewable by staff members whom have proven their reliability and trust. At no point will we every relinquish this information unless requested from law enforcement. At any point, should you decide to have your verified status changed, your information will be purged and no longer retrievable. FAQ Q: How do I become a Verified Member? A: How To Become A Verified Member | E-Cigarette Forum Q: Do I have to be a Verified Member if I don't plan to use the Classifieds/CO-OPs? A: No. It's only purpose is for Classifieds/CO-OPs. Q: Do I have to submit a request using more than one option? A: No, only one option should be used. Submitting multiple request adds more work for me and only one request is necessary. Q: How long does it take to become verified? A: I normally process the request every Sunday night. Each method is different, explained below: A1: PayPal and NetIDme are the quickest methods. These can be processed on the spot, not requiring any other interaction with the member, making the verification complete on the Sunday night after your request is sent. A2: Ebay would be the next quickest. This is a two step process. First I verify the eBay feedback. Second I send a PM with instructions to send me a quote via your eBay account to confirm it is your account.So processing for eBay can be completed as early as the same night or the Sunday following after you've sent your eBay message. A4: Vouching Member will take the longest. With vouching you are at the mercy of how long it takes your vouchers to respond to my PM. Once this is complete, you will be instructed to send $1 gift to cover the cost of postage and supplies to send a special code to the address you submitted. Once the $1 is received I send the code to your address and await your reply with this code. This process can take 10 days or more. Q: How will I know if I'm a Verified Member or not? A1: Once the steps are completed, your account is upgraded but I do not send confirmations messages. You should see an alert where your request is moved to the Verification Completed thread which signifies your request was successful. Sending a message would consume a considerable amount of time, so please watch for the title to appear under your name and the alert. A2: If for some reason your verification fails, you will be contacted via PM and advised of the reason. Once a member is denied, please repair the issue and you MUST resubmit your request. Q: Will there ever be other methods for verification? A: Yes, if we deem a method to adequately prove a member's identity, we will add the method. I am always open to suggestions but keep in my anything scanned (ID, license, utility bills, etc) that can be manipulated through image editing software will not work. Q: Do you read the comments submitted with the form? A1: Yes, each and every one of them. I wished I could respond to each one of your comments but it would be very time consuming. The time is used to process more members into Verified Member. I will say at this time, I really appreciate all the thank yous and kudos you send. A2: If you choose to express your negative opinion through this comment field, you may find that your request gets filed away as “Never Verified”. Your opinion isn't welcome through this form, there are other avenues available to you to express your opinions (maturely). Q: Can I lose my Verification status? A: Yes, if a member is deemed unfit for the Classifieds or seems to have trouble following the forum rules, their Verified Member status may be revoked. Q:What happens to request that fail to be verified? A:When a request fails it is filed away as denied along with the reason for the denial. The application will not be edited in any way to reprocess. So re-submission is required once a request has been denied. Q: Can I reapply if my first attempt fails? A: Yes, unless otherwise instructed. Some request may have typos or other mistakes that render the request "Denied". It is always required of you to resubmit. Q: I don't feel comfortable providing this information, what can I do? A: First consider this, the information we are asking for will be required to complete a transaction with other members, so you will be providing this information to them. Second, practically everything we ask for is of public record and with a little diligence can be found without your input. We aren't asking for your social security number, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or anything of that nature. Q: Why can't scanned forms of identification be used to be verified? A: Scanned images can be manipulated too easily which prevents this method from being used. This post will be evolving over time. If you have a question that I have not answered, feel free to post it and I'll add it if I feel it needs to be included.