French city-to-city carpooling service recently launched in India. The company has been pretty aggressive and you're likely to find a ride between most of the popular cities which is pretty impressive to achieve in such a short span of time and thus we included them in our watchlist that featured companies using technology to improve urban transport in India. BlaBlaCar's growth can be attributed to the marketing they've been doing and one of their sponsored links on Reddit brought out a very important point.
BlaBlaCar: Hello India Redditors! We are BlaBlaCar, the world's largest city-to-city ridesharing community. We provide an easy alternative to taking the train or bus, and are now in India! Please check us out if you need to travel this Republic Day weekend!
X: Welcome to India. Please provide an alternative to Facebook for signing up. Even if its a moderately lengthy procedure, such as Registration with a phone number and additional verification with scanned IDs. Merci beaucoup.
BlaBlaCar: Hi Zenwisdom We took good note of your message. Facebook Connect makes your profile more trustworthy, as it links it to your existing online social profile, which is reassuring to other members. Your Facebook details will automatically complete your profile, including your photo and your number of friends. The more complete your profile is, the more trustworthy it will be. In the future we may consider other verification systems. Cheers, The BlaBlaTeam
Y: I fail to understand how Facebook Connect makes my profile any more trustworthy. They don't verify any aspect of my profile. I could create a fake profile and fill it out with convincing-seeming details, and add a bunch of other fake profiles as friends.
And a report on fake profiles, in case you aren't convinced.
Z: They have a system in place for peer approval, already. They could just expand on that.
What I don't get is why they depend solely on Facebook to use their site.
And the thread goes on (follow here)
To test this, I tried out the app and to BlaBlaCar's credit, the experience is pretty smooth. But the bigger point in question over here is for product companies and technologists.
How does one ensure that genuine users are joining the platform? Is signing up only via facebook okay? (or for that matter only LinkedIn or Twitter or any one platform)
More context: Some might argue that everyone is on Facebook and hence what difference does it make? (Even we allow commenting via FB alone due to which some have complained but issues like spam, page load, etc have made us go with this option). Yes, Facebook has scale and potentially covers the target market one might have but it does alienate a large segment that does not use Facebook (or does not want to login via Facebook). Why does one require to have a Facebook account to use some other service?
As we move ahead in this exploration with technology and building scale, such issues will become important and need to be discussed more often. I've created this form to get your views and we're not even asking for your name or email id, we're just looking for perspectives. A summary of the responses will be posted on the same article in a week's time.
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