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Just did a bit of digging.

They use this company for the verification process of ID scanning.


I wonder if this has been brought on due to a friction of fraud that they are facing as they've grown. They've actually done a great job of keeping fraudulent activity under-hush, but I'm sure it's been a major problem...

Also, one of the main issues with a marketplace that fulfils the service/product at a future date is the uncertainty that the home owners actually exist. They've done a good job of limiting their exposure to risk on this by putting in lots of mechanisms in place.

(Reviews / Free profession photography / Payment holds to owners until arrival / Social connections / Phone verification / CC Linking )

All of these help create a strong recognition of trust/security (that isn't just an illusion like many other sites).

I'm just not quite sure what additional benefit this offers. (I'll assume it's to protect the home owners more, by requiring guests who place a booking to confirm their identity)

AirBnb don't store any of the verification documents either. They are all stored by Jumio, who also check them against goverment documents to confirm a match. [2]

[1] : http://www.jumio.com/netverify/try-it-now/

[2] : https://www.airbnb.co.uk/support/question/453

Identity is a basic problem for any online transaction. For instance, Paypal's biggest innovations were around fraud prevention.

Jumio is a great solution to bridge online transactions and offline verification (physical IDs, passports, credit cards).

If I had to speculate, I suspect Jumio gets disrupted by products that attack the root problem by no longer needing verification - more specifically, virtual currencies. But that feels like a distant prospect right now.

I don't believe virtual currencies solve the verification problem. On the contrary - anonymity plus lack of chargebacks is a huge incentive for fraud. You can either drop anonymity or establish a trusted third party escrow-like service. In either case you need some kind of verification.

It looks like despite the error the verification still goes through. I uploaded my ID, it said it was doing some processing, and when I clicked next I got an error. However, I was still able to complete the verification and it now shows me as verified.

Does this mean that anybody can sign up on Airbnb and browse verified Name-to-Address matches for people? Plus the photos from inside their homes?

Airbnb doesn't divulge the address until a reservation has been made. OTOH, your point about photos is correct.

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