Introducing Airbnb Verified ID

About Vivek Wagle

Trust @ Airbnb

Trust is the key to our community.

There is no place for anonymity in a trusted community. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing our users with the best decision-making tools possible.

We believe that the right technology can help lay the foundation for trust in other people. We’ve committed to innovation in the trust arena, with features like our secure payment structure, 24/7 customer service, sophisticated messaging tools, and $1,000,000 Host Guarantee.

Today, we are proud to introduce Airbnb Verified ID—the next step for trust at Airbnb.

Verified ID provides a connection between the online and offline spaces. Airbnb users can earn a “Verified ID” badge on their profile by providing their online identity (via existing Airbnb reviews, LinkedIn, or Facebook) and matching it to offline ID documentation, such as confirming personal information or scanning a photo ID. The name provided by both channels must match for verification to succeed.

Starting today, Airbnb will require a random 25% of users in the USA to go through the Verified ID process. Soon, we’ll expand this requirement to users around the world. We hope that hosts and guests worldwide will see the benefits of interacting with users who complete Verified ID. Our goal is for all Airbnb members to have Verified ID eventually.

Any Airbnb host can now require their prospective guests to obtain Verified IDs before booking. Trust runs in both directions, so any host who requests this condition must also get verified.

In the meantime, you can jump the queue and verify your identity by visiting airbnb.com/verify.

Verified ID is the latest addition to our suite of trust tools. In the end, every member of our community must make their own decisions as to whom to interact and connect with. Determining whom to trust is a choice that each Airbnb host and traveler must make for themselves.

For more on all of our trust tools, jump over to airbnb.com/trust.

Trust and verification. They just go together.

88 comments

About Vivek Wagle

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  1. Andrew

    Does the new verify service utilize third-party data from a provider like LexisNexis? I just implemented a knowledge-based authentication/verification service for my current employer using a third-party service, and it’s pretty slick. It seems like requiring an offline verification like a picture of license is more complicated than it really needs to be.

    • Cat

      I will no longer be using your service. You have my credit card information and reviews – what more VERIFICATION do you need?
      I will NOT put a Profile up nor will I submit a photo.

      • Robin Anderson

        Cat,
        As a person opening up my home to strangers, I personally feel more comfortable knowing that the guest who wants to stay here hasn’t just reserved a room using a credit card number. This also makes other guests in my home feel more secure knowing that the person in the room down the hall has been thoroughly verified. This isn’t a hotel room where anonymity is a perk. It’s my home.

        • Harold

          While I understand your concern. Please understand mine. I will not place a copy of my government issued documents in a 3rd party location *forever* with all the privacy issues going on right now. They maintain the right to share that information as they see fit. They don’t tell me how long, where or how it stored, or how I can purge it.

          So I need to run a huge risk that, one day, I am the victim of identity theft, my passport info floats around the web…. just to secure a cheaper lodging option of a B&B?

      • Harold

        It’s not a profile photo that’s the point. It’s a COPY of your passport or driver’s licence that is stored by a 3rd party company without guarantees. And without knowing they won’t change those guarantees tomorrow, like Facebook does. Once they have it, they have it forever as there is no way to purge it.

        One would be INSANE (or utterly careless or just an eternal optimist) to give that level of privacy out to a 3rd party company and run the risk of them one day being hacked, or just share it with.. well whomever because they are required to do so or feel like it.

  2. Ray Schmitz

    Great move. Trust is especially important when inviting someone into your home.

  3. Gaston

    It was about time! thank you guys!

  4. michele

    Love Airbnb and anything that makes it a tad bit safer.

  5. Tom

    Love the idea and as a host I say “about time!!!”

    But there are some issues. It will be a bit of a challenge in some Asian countries where someone’s real name may be Kamolthip Watchanrattan but (as customary in those countries) everyone refers to the person by a nickname, such as “Kate” ergo her AirBNB profile would probably be showing her as “Kate W.”, not “Kamolthip Watchanrattan”

  6. Meghan

    I support the idea behind this but I’m curious about the scanning of the photo IDs. Who can see them?–anyone? Since they include numbers (passport #, full birthday, resident ID #) that I normally don’t make public, I feel a little cautious about that.

    Thank you for providing alternative means of confirming your online identity other than linking to facebook.

    • Monica

      I totally Agree with you! Verification is good but airbnb is asking for to much personal info (ID#,D.OB, and SS#) plus Facebook, Linkedin. Just a little scared

  7. Gerald

    As a host in Boston, I look forward to guests being verified, but have thus far lost one booking due to this new procedure. Is this change being explained to our guests?

    • Harold

      I just cancelled a week of bookings. No B&B benefit is good enough, or host nice enough, to entrust 3rd parties with a copy of my passport or driver’s licence without guarantees and without the ability to permanently purge it.

      I guess I’ll gladly pay the extra bucks for a feeling of safety and security.

  8. stanford

    I congratulate, a magnificent idea

  9. cecil

    It is remarkable, it is rather valuable phrase

  10. Lorcan

    This is the complete opposite of trust.

    • A now ex-customer

      I was thinking the exact same thing.

  11. PJ

    Excellent policy! Just verified my profile and it only took a couple of minutes. This will give me greater peace of mind both as a host and a guest when interacting with the Airbnb community. Thanks!

    • Liliana

      That is magic- no one else was able to verify the profile in a couple of minutes))) Actually it seems more like mission impossible

  12. Naomi Migliacci

    Just curious. Is this policy in response to problems people (guests or hosts) have had?

  13. Autumn Alvarez

    Hi

    I think your service fee is highway robbery. I will likely avoid using airbnb in the future as a result….

    I just paid nearly 14% of the total cost of my stay in “service fees”…

    Autumn

  14. Addison Hazen

    This is a great move. I’d really like to add a strong encouragement to Airbnb to really
    urge potential guests to fill out, completely, their profile. Having hosted many guests, the one frustrating thing in potential bookings is getting a reservation request from someone new to airbnb and a profile not filled out or just barely. I clearly state that this is a requirement but it gets lost in all the information I think. The profile, particularly with a new guest with no host verifications, is a great way to get an idea of who you are welcoming into your home. It’s not the Ramada. And it helps establish credibility and trust. My feeling is always, if they won’t fill it out or haven’t, what are they hiding. And if they can’t follow a simple instruction or request like filling out a profile and attaching a real picture, are they going to respect and follow my house rules. By Airbnb urging guests to fill out their profile, it would help them make a great first impression, get the booking they desire and feel more apart of the community. Thanks, Addison

  15. Jon

    I am an Airbnb host. Naturally, safety is always a concern. Despite that, I find this move objectionable, dishonest, misguided, and outright offensive.

    1) As a host, it is up to me to choose who I allow in my home. I like that I can decide how many requirements to place on my guests. Should I choose to place strict requirements, I get more protection and probably fewer bookings. I like having the choice. Airbnb just took the choice away from me and I’m not happy about it.
    2) You are making it substantially harder for guests to book on Airbnb. These standards will reduce the number of bookings we receive as hosts. You reduce our bookings and remove our ability to choose. Hosts should have the ability to choose.
    3) You want people to send you their photo ID / passport? Are you out of your (*&#%&( mind? Banks lose customer data all the time and they have some of the most stringent standards possible. Despite that, you pretend that you all are immune. You claim that having people send some of their most personal information over the internet will make them safer. You don’t make them safer; you make them MUCH LESS SAFE. When you have your data breached and you get sued, you will deserve every bit of the penalty.
    4) Why did you require a random 25% of users? Why not all users? Because you know you’d get too much negative feedback all at once and you could control the situation better if you phase it in. Either you are lying or you are putting hosts at risk. Shameful either way.
    5) “enhanced trust” I hate your Orwellian crock of sh&# phrasing. You should help the prison system rebrand their “full body cavity search”
    6) As a traveler myself, I was one of the 25% selected for “enhanced trust”. I have over 50 positive reviews from guests and hosts alike. You know where I live! There is no more trust that could possibly be had. Use a little common sense. This is the kind of nonsense I’d expect from the DMV, not from a blossoming enterprise.
    7) When the hell did facebook become an authority on people’s identities? I suspect that you have much more interesting motives for forcing people to connect their profiles to facebook. Quit trying to mine data under the guise of trust.

    Despite having done thousands and thousands of dollars of business with your company, I would NEVER trust you with a scan of my passport or government ID.

    Bottom line: Hosts should have the choice. There is no reason hosts shouldn’t have the choice. Give them the choice. if you want to build out an infrastructure to support hosts that want to run all sorts of background checks on their guests, fine. Just don’t force your schemes on those of us who have a different idea of what constitutes trust.

    • Vivek Wagle

      We really appreciate your candid thoughts on this subject. I wanted to reassure you on a few points.

      First, you’re right in that this move entails taking a stand. We simply don’t believe that anonymous experiences are good for a community built on sharing. This is why we’ve created Verified ID.

      You’re absolutely right that we’re doing a staged rollout to test and learn. We’ll refine our product based on feedback from our community—it’s what we’ve always done. That said, we are confident that we are using best-in-class technology and security standards to protect user information. We will only use this information with the goal of building transparency and trust in our community.

      And so far, we’ve seen a very positive response—we haven’t seen any decline in guest approvals/bookings. We succeed when our hosts and guests succeed. Ultimately we hope all of our users will see the benefit of verifying their identification.

      • jon

        I understand Chesky’s vision. The vision is good; the implementation is awful. That’s where the problem is.

        Making the verifications required system wide is foolish. Everyone’s needs, perceptions, and situations are different. ex:

        Many people choose to ride bicycles without a helmet.
        Many people choose to smoke cigarettes.
        Many people choose to use online dating websites.
        Many people choose to go sky diving
        Many people choose to practice religion

        Should people not be free to make these choices because you happen to disagree?

        I’m sure you’ve received positive feedback. How many of those applauded the fact that you made it mandatory and didn’t leave it for the hosts to decide?

        Regardless of what you say, the community has and will receive fewer conversions the way you’ve done it. Economics 101: increased cost = lower demand. Even from this single thread I can see several conversions that were killed.

        ***There is absolutely no benefit to be gained by making these additional verifications mandatory community wide.***
        If a host wants to limit their conversions and be a little more ‘safe’… that is just fine. If a host wants higher conversions and doesn’t need the verifications, that is also fine. I empathize with both situations; you should too. When you provide the choice, everybody wins.

        Verifications should be the host’s decision.
        Verifications should be the host’s decision.
        Verifications should be the host’s decision.
        Verifications should be the host’s decision.
        Verifications should be the host’s decision.
        Verifications should be the host’s decision.

      • Kristin

        As a user of other similar sites (couchsurfing, VRBO, Homeaway, etc.), the verification process chosen by AirBnB is terrible. The requirement to “online verify’ by linking to LinkedIn or FB is nothing more than an attempt by AirBnB to data mine or market to my connections/friends. AirBnB is preventing my reservation from going thru because I won’t verify via FB. There was once an option to use LinkedIn but in reading the small print, it would also scan/view my 1st & 2nd level connections. NOW I only have the option to use FB. Of course trying to actually reach a person or even email AirBnB regarding this is impossible so I am reaching out through this blog.
        While AirBnB sounded like such a great opportunity for travelers and hosts, in reality it is way too much red tape and invasiveness under the guise of ‘creating trust’.
        Now I am left with some weird video option for obtaining the ‘online verification’. I can’t even imagine how that works.
        Here is an idea AirBnB…try letting your Hosts decide how much verification and information they want. You’d see a lot more bookings/activity on your site. At this point I can not endorse (or apparently use) AirBnB and that is unfortunate.

      • Arthur

        I will not under any circumstances supply a picture ID to some data base. I don’t trust Facebook because of their privacy antics and I quit when I couldnt take it anymore. Just the idea of the Facebook connection in the verification process made me suspicious. And now this. Answer this AirBnB. Will there be any sharing of this photo id data thru verify with Facebook? I suspect so. No matter what you respond I think so and there is nothing you can say to reassure me. Zuckerburg has danced the edge of privacy and crossed it on numerous occasion since the inception of Facebook. This Verify me has Zuckerburg stink all over. Zuckerburg doesn’t get my passport. Ill cancel my future reservations if it becomes a requirement. Shame. I was just beginning to enjoy using this product.

    • Deborah Steele

      Thank you! What a relief–I’m not alone! I was just trying to book a short stay and the rigmarole and emails this verification process generated was ridiculous, but what caused me to cancel the reservation was this weird audition video request. Nor will I ever have anything further to do with Airbnb; not because of the hassle, but because this new verification process is invasive and puts my identity at risk. I have never encountered any comparable vetting for any purpose and it’s depressing to realize people will unthinkingly accept this kind of exploitation of information. I guess the thinking is if you value your privacy and identity above “trust” you don’t measure up to the Airbnb “community”. And is it a “community”? Really??
      p.s. I have never posted a comment in a forum like this, and on this issue I’ve posted twice!

    • KD

      I completely agree Jon. I’m a guest, not a host, but you make valid points. What is ESPECIALLY concerning is that when I called Airbnb to express my outrage he continually told me “We have never been hacked and we’ve been running for 6 years.” As though that was sufficient! They absolutely think they’re immune but really they’re making themselves more of a target by advertising this move for SSNs.
      Not to mention they are inconsistently available, there are many accounts of no assistance when problems occur (just google it) – so they don’t have it together enough to requiring such extreme measures!
      Andddd the Facebook thing? Ridiculous.

      This will absolutely stop me from using them in the future and I doubt I’m alone.

      • E

        What they don’t tell you is that they are accessing your database of friends on facebook and linked in. One can assume that they are amassing data to sell to third parties. Interesting that as you go through the process linked in warns you that you should old allow a trusted entity to have access to all your data like this. I dont trust airbnb at all!

    • Nick

      I agree with Jon here, I’m a host too and I believe this will also affect the number of bookings I get. It should always be the hosts choice, but as a company you might want to have a different kind of guarantee for guests who are verified with ID and some without then.

    • Bunny

      I’d love to rent a place from YOU! We’ve been trying for over half an hour to rent a sweet looking place in France, but we finally gave up. We’d enter all the data only to be told they need more. We don’t have Face-Book or Linked-In (by choice), and we find it insulting to have to answer so many personal questions – after they already have our personal information. And we’re not from the computer/Twitter generation. They want a video too? Never did figure that out either. In additional, we can’t even call or e-mail the host…who seems like they would be a nice person. Sorry, but I’m just venting now. We’ve rented places all over the world…and this by far has been the worst experience, ever.

      B

    • Alex

      Agree completely. I’m a *new* guest, on hold for an hour to Airbnb as I write this to verify I am who I am already verified to be (through LinkedIn, email, phone, etc).
      I have to upload a photo? I could upload a jpeg of anyone!

      I’d send the host a description of me –or even a photo– but I’m not scanning my drivers license to please Airbnb.
      Airbnb has probably already tied up a week’s reservation charge on my card, but they won’t *send* my reservation request forward to the host!

      I hate the police state and I hate this bs verification process.

    • Warren

      I agree with Jon,

      Why is it these days that companies think they have free use of my personal information. I think this is a very bad idea and I will steer clear of it and if it becomes mandatory you will loose an otherwise happy airbnb user.

      I feel much SAFER knowing that my information isn’t out there.

      Be careful if enough people disagree with your policies someone might look to set up a company in direct competition without the Orwellian approach.

      • Warren

        In addition, I am traveling on a 2 month European trip and booking as I go, I have very limited access to tech and I now have a place that I was going to book in limbo, The host has dropped her verification restrictions but I can’t re-book as the dates are not available (because AirBNB are holding my booking for me for 12 hours) In addition the booking doesn’t appear on either her side or mine so we can cancel it and book again!

    • Gail Falk

      I completely endorse Jon’s comments. They don’t add safety, just more hurdles for people to jump through when booking. We are completely satisfied Airbnb hosts and believe this new system is counterproductive and not something we would want to be associated with. I have always appreciated the fact that, as a host, I can use my own instincts and communications to decide whether to accept a guest.

  16. kim

    well this is irritating. i have neither a facebook nor linkedin account, nor do i want either. i’ve been a positively-reviewed airbnb member for 2 years. although this article says it will look at positive reviews as online verification, it does not seem to be the case.

    and as for the 24/7 customer service? at this moment there is NO chat available, phone number is reserved for emergencies, and they are not responding to e-mail. so my booking is in limbo. if you’re going to implement this new feature, at least have the customer service to support it!

  17. Deborah Steele

    my Facebook account did not work for Airbnb so they asked me to make a personal video talking about such things as why i like my neighborhood. I’m sorry, but I find this creepy. think of the inevitable steps up: photos of tattoos or birthmarks? proof of baptism? defense of fashion choices? that fragrant blend of californian cumbayah and capitalism. yechh.

  18. David

    I have used service before, but then it decided it needed to further “verify me”. It asked me questions I did not remember the answer to “what year was my Saab 900″ (that was 20 yrs ago). Now I am locked out, no one replys to my e-mails. This is TERRIBLE customer service. I will be forced to do what I did last week and simply book a hotel. I have wasted too much time with airbnb, and will certainly replay that to those who have recommended it.

  19. Mle Davis

    Agree with others that the new verification process is insane and insulting. I have used your service for two years. My “reality” has been verified by my hosts and my guests: people in four countries have left feedback about their experiences with me. We have talked on the phone. You have my social security number from when you sent me tax documents. You have my credit card on file. I’m happy to send you my drivers license, but don’t see why you would need it, when you already have the rest. There is just no way I’m linking up my facebook account so you can datamine my friends, keep an eye on my day to day activity, or examine my relationships. There are enough safety checks on me through the relationship we’ve already developed. Please reconsider this stupidity.

  20. Anne

    So sad… Just encountered this “verify me” thing and nothing happens when I click on the “verify me” button. I just get a a page with Offiline ID, Online ID, etc. headings and nothing else. I click on Offline ID and it takes me back to my starting point. I have tried other browsers. The very thing I enjoyed about Airbnb was being able to make rentals far ahead of my date or within a few days of my arrival. Now I can not do this…

    • Andrea

      This has happened to me, too. I try to use the verify me feature by answering questions (I’m sorry, but there is no way I am going to pass along a image of my passport or driver’s license) but I just get a mostly empty page that sends me back to the verify me starting point. I tried to contact airbnb 8 hours ago and, of course, no response. So now I am going to lose my booking in the next 4 hours.

      Ridiculous and completely off-putting.

  21. E

    Just had a reservation cancelled tonight because I did not complete the verification process. I inadvertently skipped the second step in the process which is give them access to my facebook account and contacts. I guess it doesn’t matter that I have been a member for almost three years and have rented through airbnb more than 15 times and have ALL positive reviews. I see this as an attempt to gather data for marketing purposes. Why else would they need access to facebook or linked in. Airbnb is going down hill. I have had more and more problems with them over the past 6 months. It was a great idea in the begining, but I think they are imploding!

  22. E

    PS I love how they are saying “no place for anonymity”. Well lets see… you verified my email, you verified my cell phone number, you have my credit card number, you verified my drivers license, and I have done 15+ transactions through airbnb……how am I anonymous?

  23. Tony

    I’m new to airbnb and I’m not crazy about the idea of scanning my driver’s license or passport and sending that to you. How do I know the faceless employees of whatever company which gets this information can be trusted with it? Years ago I applied for a store credit card with one of those guys who greets you as you come into the store and asks if you would like a credit card. His job was legit, except that unfortunately, he was also a crook and photocopying the applications in order to sell them to someone on the outside too. My identity wound up being stolen and I had a collection company after me for $7500! Fortunately for me, the cops were onto this little identity theft ring and they got busted and I was cleared with the collection company. But that was not a happy experience and I’ve been very careful with my ID since.

    But here’s the thing: before you go to these extraordinary steps, why not fix the site so that friends can give me references. As I said, I’m new and (per your instructions) have asked friends through the site (both by email and facebook) to provide me with a reference. No one has done so yet and three have written back to say that they click the link and then don’t see any way to provide me with a reference. Two of these people are now concerned that this was just a way for someone to get their email addresses and add them to a spam list.

    Don’t get me wrong — I think the site is great and I’m really looking forward to my first booking and I’m contemplating being a host as well if things turn out okay. But giving you my driver’s license and passport information? I don’t think that’s too appealing given my experience in the past. Also, my facebook page says “Tony” and my “offline ID” says “Anthony”. From what I’ve read, that’s not going to work anyway.

    eBay has managed to operate successfully without this precaution — I’m sure AirBnB can figure it out too.

    T.

  24. Liliana

    They apparently have some technical issues that need to be resolved, I am a long -time customer and because their on-line verification system has a bug I am not able to book anymore. I have tried contacting customers service for help – no help provided….I guess it eventually will be fixed – as they notice that a lot of bookings are gone – but you need when you need it. I am very frustrated

  25. John

    As Hosts we have lost a booking due to this and we have noticed a sudden drop in enquiries. Looks like we are losing potential guests as it is now so much simpler for a guest to book a hotel, bed and breakfast or hostel.
    Smells more like big data collection than trust and security.

  26. Karen

    Very frustrating–I cannot complete a reservation request since the site is saying it cannot verify me through my LinkedIn or Facebook profiles. My husband had the same problem when he tried. (We each passed the offline verification questions without problem.) There is no “try again” feature and the only option now seems to be creating a video profile and then emailing Airbnb to request that the video profile be accepted instead.

    This is our first experience with Airbnb and we are now in limbo, as is the host to whom we are trying to send the reservation request! Airbnb needs to fix this–there are too many bugs in this new process.

    • Andreas

      The verification simply does not work correctly. I was not able to complete the verification process and neither was my girlfriend.

      Apparently we can not book anything without the verification so we will have to look elsewhere.

  27. susie

    You direct deposit my funds to my bank — isn’t that a good offline verification? I’m not depositing them to someone else ;)

  28. pozycjonowaniestron365.blogspot.com

    Appreciate this post. Will try it out.

  29. Yves

    I got a lot of trouble to set the online profile. FaceBook did not work and I am not a LinkedIn member. I had to go through the video presentation + a mail to you.

    Why didn’t you send a mail to all members so we have the time to set the new security system BEFORE being in need???????

  30. Tracey

    Ok I love the Airbnb website and what it has to offer but I am so frusterated by the verification process. I have done everything it asks for. Had them verify via facebook -denied for some reason so I created a Linkedin account and that didn’t work. I sent in tickets only to get a generic response. I tried to update my fb info but now I can’t go back and try using it again to get verified. I was planning on going away for the long weekend. I had touched base with someone offering a room. I entered all of my payment details only to be stalled. My offline id was verified,my cell phone was verified, my e-mail address was verified, I have fb I create linkedin and still nothing. I don’t understand how a government issued id and all of the other settings have been verified but I can’t get my account verified because of a fb issue. Heck my neighbors dog has an account. How trusting is that sight?

  31. Lisa

    I am so relieved to hear all these comments about the verification process. I am feeling DEEPLY resentful of this. I used Airbnb successfully this year, and am horrified to see what they’re asking. It is so invasive I can’t believe it. Like most people here, I’m sure, I’ve done vacation rentals, car rentals, bought tickets, booked everything and anything without this level of scrutiny. I finally capitulated to four levels of the scrutiny. This is ABSURD. If they want to offer this, then fine. But let the users decide how much they’re sharing and let hosts decide what they need.

  32. Faith

    I am a new Airbnb user. I didn’t know verify was a new feature. When I set up my account last month I easily verified with my LinkedIn account. I booked a stay in Montreal which was fantastic. I received a positive review. Before leaving on that trip I booked a stay in Paris for 10 days in Oct. So far, as good. Until today.

    I tried to reserve a stay in my home state of Vt and I keep getting messages that I need to Verify. My LinkedIn account can no longer be verified for some reason. I haven’t changed my name or password. I’ve tried it several times. I do not have a Facebook account and will not send in personal documents. This is beyond frustrating.

    I’ve sent an email to Airbnb. Waiting for reply, but am not hopeful.

    Faith

  33. Damian

    I agree with those concerned about the security of information required for ID verification. If someone thinks I am going to broadcast my passport details on the web they are delusional. Current security technology has a limited life expectancy – only lasts as long as the next breakthrough in bypassing that technology. My passport details would remain on the web indefinitely. I think Airbnb need to seriously reconsider what they require.

    I also have had problems trying to use the offline verification. Rather than uploading ID documents, I selected answer questions – no joy, didn’t work.

    I have now lost two booking requests because of the poor introduction of this system.

  34. Jeff Mallory

    I’m an existing airbnb customer and suddenly I need to have a Facebook or LinkedIn account to use airbnb. This has nothing to do with security, it has everything to do with harvesting more of my personal data for advertising and marketing purposes only.

    I am joining the fight restricting people’s ability in my area to rent their homes out to airbnb users. Really stupid of airbnb to piss off it’s existing customers.

  35. S

    I am also not impressed.
    This is an unjustified invasion of privacy.
    Hosts and guests already have enough tools available to decide about booking with each other. Airbnb could add this new step as another option, but to make it compulsory is too Big Brother.
    Not a snowball’s chance I’ll send my passport, etc. to Airbnb. I’d rather stop hosting through Airbnb.
    Out of curiosity, I checked what the alternative is: but when I click on the personal details option, there aren’t any, just another blue button that brings me back to the false choice of scanned ID documents or personal details. Is this to force people to send scans?
    I cannot think of “a few personal details that only you would know” that I would share with Airbnb (and all potential hackers) anyway.
    Adding another step for guests to complete, especially one so invasive, will only lead to a reduction in bookings.
    Unless this new policy is rescinded fast, my future will be Airbnb-free.

    • walter kerschbaum

      Like many who are unhappy about the risk of giving airbnb all of my relevant ID details, banking information and social media contacts, I have decided to stop using airbnb. I have attempted to get airbnb to confirm that all of my personal information has been removed from their data systems. I have had no reply to my request. Class action lawsuit anyone? It will be coming your way, airbnb ! Just a matter of time.

      • Warren

        If AirBNB are based in the EU (Which I think they are) they are beholden to the EU laws on privacy and have to respond to an official “subject access request”

  36. Functional illiterate

    Verified Id doesn’t work. Don’t bring a feature live unless you’re sure it will. Get your machine learning team together and slap them around. Once that’s done, put the feature back in beta until they can get it work 99% of the time.

    When you introduce features too quickly, you only cause problems.

    Verified ID iz brokez!!!! Pleeze Frix it!!!

  37. Walterk55

    Air bnb has just committed corporate suicide. Their business will dry up

  38. stuck without a place

    This is fun. My gf and I are in marrakech and heading to seville tomorrow. Planned to book this morning on airbnb and suddenly we need photo id scanned, but the verification service wont do anything on either device we have tried. So we will likely have to go to a hotel instead. What the fuck airbnb? This doesn’t only hurt travellers. When we try to book it holds the listing while you try to verify yourself, but if you dont know whats going on (say you are on a smartphone) you can just keep booking different places which just removes all the listings from the database. Service is very broken, fix it.

  39. Jj

    I had trouble with verification service. It took forever. Then I had to make video introducing myself since Facebook verification did not work and I don’t have linked in. But what about the host. The host I was booking with had fake name.

  40. rusrs

    Ugh, this is horrible. Let’s just admit it—this is nothing more than security theater.

    Just to reiterate what EVERYONE ELSE is saying, not only is this shiny new “feature” horribly invasive and redundant, it’s completely broken! Tried, against my better judgement, to link my fb and linkedin accounts and it *just didn’t work*. And I’m far from the only person with this problem! Do you not test stuff before you release or what??

    Anyway, even we accept this absurd anti-privacy premise, WHY would you need both offline and online verification?? If you can verify someone’s real life identity, that should be more than sufficient; why would you need to link to their fb account and access their profile and “likes” and god knows what else?? That’s so needlessly invasive.

    Also what’s up w/ this smarmy and insulting article, “There is no place for anonymity in a trusted community.”
    …..srsly???

    • Warren

      I do wonder if they get financial renumeration for providing definitive proof to facebook etc through the offline verfication system of who we really are?

  41. Habitación Joven

    I think that option is very goog for me!!

    Thank airbnb!!

  42. Foster Bowman

    I have rented roughly 25-35 nights in Paris over the past year and a bit. My last rental was wednesday and thurs day of last week. Today, I am trying to rent the same place (from the same owner) as last week. All of a sudden, ir order to do so, I have to provide a scan of my passport and my profile and login information to LinkedIn?

    Madness. I won’t do it. Identity theft is rife and there is no way I will trust an apartment-rental site with such information when it is not necessary! I am not opening a bank account, for goodness sakes. Airbnb has my debit card info, a photo, my email address, my cell phone, and dozens of reviews from past owners.

    And can we please drop the phrase “trusted community”. Let’s be realistic.We are not gathering for midnight “Kum Bah Ya” sing-alongs.

    Look, airbnb. I am sure that you thought this was a good idea. But its not. Take it down, and get back facilitating business as normal. My business with airbnb stops from today, until the privacy-intrusion requests are dropped.

  43. Stephan

    We are a very successfull host from Grafenried, Switzerland. Since “VERIFIED ID”-system guests and prospective guests are claiming problems with their account. Samuel from Ghana couldn’t open his account, I had to book for him with my credit card his enxt stay in Geneve. Thomas & Anna told me that they spent hours in reactivating their profil and had to call to SF-headquater, to send video introducing because they don’t have facebook. Airbnb, please stop this. I as a host don’t need all this overdrawn safety stuff which is nothing more than collection data from guests (and hosts). Back to the rootes!

  44. Peter Capek

    I’m really interest to understand, if this policy was indeed introduced on April 30, 2013, how there came to be (favorable) comments with dates like Nov 7, 2012, Jan 18, 2013, and March 14, 2012 in the blog? Where these inserted to “balance” the impact of the negative criticism? It sure feels like it.

  45. Fremont Woodward

    Not a bad idea in theory but a complete failure in practice. I spent hours trying to be verified. I was forced to upload a video profile because my linked in and facebook profiles were rejected. The video was also rejected. I have been a customer for 3 years with 100% positive reviews. Oh…by the way…Samantha rejected my profile video. I’m at a total loss but no longer can I recommend airbnb to friends and family until this absurd situation is resolved. Can someone please tell me how a video somehow magically verifies my identiy???? They specifically prohibit showing personal information like IDs. So bizarre as to be unbelievable.

  46. jaykaym

    Has anyone actually managed to do the video thing for the verification step? My computer doesn’t have a camera and that apparently is the only way to do a video for AirBnb. There is no option to upload a video from your phone. I’ve tried sending an email with my video and hope that fulfills my requirement but my reservation will expire before I get an answer. I tried to do the Facebook thing but apparently I am not popular enough and it wouldn’t accept my Facebook as sufficient.

  47. bryan

    Just had prospective guest say he felt insulted by the the video requirement. Also have a potential guest stuck in the verification process.

    Can we opt out as hosts?

    • Sandy H.

      As a guest, I think this is a GREAT idea!

      I’m stuck in the verification process now, hemming and hawing over how safe it is to upload a Passport photo onto the Great Big Internet.

      All I know is, I’ve planned 2 or 3 trips all over the world with Airbnb, and now they’re going to lose a loyal and trustworthy guest.

      At least I THOUGHT I was trustworthy, but I suppose without Passport or Driver’s License info, I cannot be trusted?! How does this make SENSE?!

  48. Warren

    This has totally pissed me off this is my last day on Formentera a paradise island. I wanted to spend my last day on the beach but instead I’m battling to make a booking on this crap site!

  49. James

    This verification requirement is ridiculous, especially for members like me who have already booked previously through airbnb and received favourable reviews.

    I’ve already given you my email address, phone number, and credit card details (including my address), and I’ve already booked accommodation twice through airbnb for a room and an apartment in cities on two different contintents, but it seems that’s not enough verification for airbnb.

    Apparently your hosts now can’t be trusted to determine whether I am a human or not. So much for your claim that “at Airbnb, we believe real connections are created in the real world” – that all seems to be hot air.

    Now you want me to upload a scan of my ID AND give you access to my network of friends and business contacts in order for you to now ‘trust’ me. And you only tell me about this new requirement AFTER I make and pay for my booking.

    Well airbnb – I’ve got news for you. I don’t trust you or your ID verification partner with this information so I’m not going to complete this verification process for the booking I’ve just made and paid for.

    I certainly won’t be using airbnb for the other booking I was planning to make in another city on this same trip or any other accommodation in future until you get rid of this ridiculous attempt to build a social graph of your customers and hosts.

  50. Gail Falk

    I can’t believe Airbnb has not responded to these comments. Clearly there is a problem. What are you thinking,, Airbnb? Don’t you care that so many of our core customers are upset and disagree with Verification?

  51. Arthur

    Answer this. Because I refuse to your co conspirator Zuckerburg, is there a chance for my Paris and Rome Reservations I made 3 months ago to fall through? We have a binding contract do we not? Can you change the rules after you’ve held my money for three months? I can see one hell of a class action suit coming your way.

  52. D P

    This is only the second time I attempted to use airbnb services. The first time, no extensive verification process, but my card was charged and then the reservation was declined by the host. Thought it was ridiculous that I was charged before confirmed. I did get refunded but it was annoying.

    Second attempt today. Charged immediately, only to receive an email that they needed more verification. Like a fool, I gave them extensive verification. Yet airbnb has not even sent my request. Instead, I am supposed to send a cheesy video to verify my online identity. I have active Linkd in and facebook accounts for that. It seems like a very untrustworthy practice and I guarantee that even in that 24 hour period that my money is suspended before it will be refunded because I refuse to continue jumping through hoops, that somehow airbnb as a corporation is profiting off all the countless charges of its naive travelers who will eventually be denied and eventually be refunded. As soon as I am reimbursed I will be committed in the online dissent of this disservice.

  53. Mark Williams

    Can’t verify because my facebook doesnt have ‘enough activity’. Looking through facebook it appears you checked my favourite quotes. What relevance is this? You have my driving license, you have my credit card, you can see my facebook page. Why cant I book my holiday?

    Shut up and take my money!

  54. Joyce Schwarz

    JUST did the verification — glad to get your note that:
    You’re verified! Thanks for taking the time to verify your ID.

    Love to have you make it clear that a guest is a newbie and has never stayed anywhere– when I asked AirBNB about my last guest — they insisted he had stayed with AirBNB before although he had just signed up a week before making the reservation — that’s unfair to the host to be misled by Steve in Customer Service

  55. Michael

    Hi there,
    just booked a plain-old-hotel after running into airbnb’s “security”scam.
    Part 1: Dutyfully uploaded my street address – unverifiable (its the same my CC charge is sent to).
    Part 2: Undutyfully uploaded a photo of Angela Merkel – went right trough!
    Part 3: They still insist in a photocopy of my passport – crazy!!!

    Point 1: The good guys give away information to some US based company with doubtful security measures – in the time of Snowden, NSA, PRISM and the data autobahn from google/facebook to the agencies a complete no-go.

    Point 2: The bad guys just upload any passport copy and build a fake identity.

    Point 3: Apparently, this is not about security or trust (anyway, if they trusted me, why all this), but rather about tradeable data. A facebook account verifies your ID – bruhaha!

    I will try airbnb just one more time, maybe my prospective host was paranoid and I go thru again – if not, ciao airbnb, welcome hrs/booking.

  56. Rutuja

    I have searched on air bnb several times although never really booked anything until now. Just yesterday, I decided to book a place. Boom – you need my SSN OR My Passport Copy OR Drivers License AND my facebook account? WHY? To make sure I am not a fake person? Oh wait, you just verified my email AND my phone number AND my credit card details. Is it not enough? Your webpage says – you are going to live in the real person’s home blah blah blah…- and hence you need to verify that I am not a ghost or a thief. If your software can not verify me with the information I have already provided, you need to really fix your code to use the data you gather and not ask for more personal data. If Paypal, Amazon, Apple can deal with me (for years!) by just asking for my credit card number, address and birth month and year you should be able to deal with this problem in the same manner. It is outrageous to ask for Drivers license/Passport/SSN for someone who is doing transaction in mere hundreds. Also, those who host their homes/shared accommodation need to be prudent enough to make sure who they let in. You fishing for my SSN/ FB friends and google drive documents (YES your website told me that if I provide my gmail account for verification you can access my google drive. WHAT FOR? a question for you to answer) is not going to help them in any way!

    I would have used air bnb but I am certainly not using it because I have plenty other options. There are other websites and upcoming startups which will make their way well above you for sure.

  57. Dan P

    Want to make a reservation but the verification system doesn’t recognize my perfect clear hi-res picture of my id…
    And now?!?
    Could not find a help contact for airbnb.

  58. Luca

    I’m sorry but this is just an effort by airbnb to do data mining and have an extensive NSA like database of information. They say it’s in the interest of safety but last I checked, bad people had IDs and FB profiles so hosts will also incur some type of risk, probably more so people offering a room as opposed to the full house/apt or whatever. I’ll say if you’re a host renting a room in your house where you’ll be staying, maybe you are entitled to additional information. If I am renter renting an entire space, what’s my FB profile or ID going to tell you? I can still be a complete a-hole and leave your place a mess but that’s what security and cleaning deposits are for.

    If you guys are foolish enough to provide airbnb information, don’t whine when it’s misused or you receive plethora marketing. Don’t be sheep. Use another service. Next time airbnb, why don’t you ask your renters and hosts what they think before instituting some half thought out policy. You have lost another customer airbnb.

  59. FP

    I have used Airbnb for a while now and built up good reviews from the people I’ve stayed with. Airbnb has my card details, address and phone number, why does it need my passport or driving license info? And if it does insist on collecting it at least explain how my ID data will be used and where the data will be stored. Based on the numerous revelations that cloud-based services are mined by intelligence agencies and others, I’m uncomfortable handing this kind of information over when I don’t know how it will be shared and handled. I also really dislike the way Airbnb made me submit my ID or else I couldn’t use the service.

    For those who haven’t yet submitted their ID for verification, think it through. Do you really want to hand over your personal identity docs to an unknown private company?

  60. Jen

    As an airbnb traveler since the first month they started, I have pages of referrals from hosts and to be asked NOW to verify my ss number or send a copy of my license ONLINE? I’ve been a great customer for YEARS. This is ridiculous. I now use VRBO and vacation rentals.com. For me to use AIRbnb now is just not worth it. Very unfortunate.

  61. Mark

    Identity fraud is too risky to send a hackable corporation such documents as a copy of a driving licence or passport. I’ll pass thanks.