VITY Insights Blog

How VITY Ensures Authenticity

When we first started talking about VITY, as an abstract concept mind you, we knew there were a LOT of challenges ahead of us. Lots and lots and lots and lots. So, we did what anyone would do and started procrastinating immediately. BBQs and beer FTW! We went to Casa de Ponca (the official VITY hangout), grilled up some chicken and veggies (organic, of course), and had some patio time. And that's when somebody, I can't recall whom, brought up the obvious, "How can we keep people from pretending to be somebody else in VITY"?

And that's a sobering question. I know because I instantly sobered up and started pondering. How can we ensure Social Influencers are really who they say they are? I mean, building a marketplace is one thing, but identity fraud protection? That's a toughy...

But we cracked it; there's no chance of anybody being on VITY that didn't authorize it. Nobody. Best of all, everybody on VITY is 100% confirmed to control the social networks they're advertising. In this article, I'm going to go into detail on how VITY does this and, hopefully, give some peace of mind when it comes to hiring our influencers.

The oAuth Flow

This is our primary weapon against deception. In a nutshell, the oAuth Flow requires that the Social Influencer, essentially, log into VITY through their social network. For example, logging into VITY with their Twitter account. We send you to Twitter, you log into Twitter (or are already logged in), you confirm VITY can access your Twitter data, Twitter sends you back to VITY, then VITY can pull your Twitter data. Pretty bullet proof actually. 

Well, sort of. Let's be honest, if somebody can access your Twitter account, for example a hacker, they could setup a VITY account using your identity. Still, it's the 21st century and we all know to protect our username and passwords (NEVER EVER SHARE YOUR USERNAME AND PASSWORD!!!!!).

Now, in order to use the oAuth Flow, the social network in question HAS to offer oAuth login for their service. And most that VITY connects with do. Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, and Facebook, all offer oAuth login. Add to that, their REST APIs and VITY has a valuable resource for identifying who's who and preventing fraud. 

But, as Granny always said, "not all social networks are created equal". And for those, we have...

The Alternative Flow

And then there are those social networks that just want to be walled gardens in the worst way. Networks like Vine and Snapchat don't offer oAuth login (nor an official API but that's another annoyance). So for those situations we get a little old school; we use people involved in the process (I know right??!?).

Let's be clear; VITY manually verifies your account. With people. For example, when you say, "I want to connect my Vine account to VITY", you fill out a form, tell us your details, post a comment on a Vine video from VITY's account, and a human being on the VITY team will verify you once you're done. Easy peasy.

Not elegant and certainly not pretty; but it's by far the most efficient and user friendly solution. And it works for the same reasons the oAuth Flow works; you have to do something with your social network that we can verify.

VITY Welcomes Our LinkedIn Overlords

Not all Advertisers want to promote their products and services on the most popular or generic social networks like Twitter or Facebook. No no, it's true. We've been asked for some more niche networks AND been told, "Twitter's pretty useless to us dude". I know, I know, they called us "dude"... 

Still, asking for other networks happened too. So, we're now expanding beyond your traditional social platforms and networks into more niche areas. And today marks the release of our first; LinkedIn. Now, both Social Influencers and Advertisers can monetize LinkedIn data for their own ends. 

You can start with LinkedIn now.

Improved Accounts Pages

If the Dashboard is your window into what you're currently doing on VITY, the Account Page is the window into what you've previously completely on VITY. And today's update is all about making the Account Pages better.

Advertiser Account Page

For Advertisers, we've gone the traditional route and we're displaying how much you've invested in your active VITY Campaigns and all the past activity performed to date. Pretty standard fare really.

Influencer Account Page

Social Influencers get the above goodies, but also get a purdy graph of numbers and dates to show your progress over time. 

You can get your account details now.

Welcome Snapchat Social Influencers!

Everybody loves them some Snapchat. Snapchat, Snapchat, Snapchat. "Does VITY support Snapchat?", all the time it's asked. "Can I do Snapchat Campaigns on VITY?", is another one. Snapchat, Snapchat, Snapchat. "Oh, no, we don't support Snapchat yet", we'd always say, "but, we will. Promise". And today it happened

And so it has. We've launched full snap integrations to allow for both Social Influencers on Snapchat AND Advertisers who want to hire Snapchat Social Influencers, to take full advantage. Here's how it works. 

Snapchat for Influencers

Alright. So, since Snapchat doesn't an API, we had to use our Alternative Flow to get things going. For those unaware, the Alternative Flow uses manual verification but since VITY requires verification, it's to be expected. So, it works like this:

  1. Influencers tell VITY their Snapchat details
  2. Influencers submit a "snap" to VITY using their Snapchat account
  3. VITY verifies you

Once that's done, you'll be able to start monetizing your Snapchat account.

Snapchat for Advertisers

As has become the norm, hiring Snapchat Influencers is as easy as hiring any other Influencer on VITY. You can search for Snapchat users, verify their details, and Invite them to your Campaigns. 

Snapchat is live now so go nuts.

Social Influencer Account Changes

Today's announcement focuses around some recent changes we've made to how Social Influencer accounts function and how this relates to you. In other words, we've changed some things to make everybody happy and we hope you like them smile

Signup Like a Human Bein'

One of the key tenets of VITY from day 1 was to make signing up and logging into VITY as painless and easy as possible. Literally, zero barrier to entry, or as close to it as we could make it. Add to that the other key tenet of VITY that all Social Influencer accounts are verified to prevent imposters, and a social login system made sense. Lots and lots of sense actually. You want to represent your Twitter profile, so why not have user's login and sign up using Twitter?

Well, because as it turns out, VITY is used primarily on mobile. Yeah, we were surprised too. But this meant that, since most users of Twitter, Facebook, et al, have dedicated apps for mobile. Which meant that users on mobile weren't logged into their social accounts on their mobile network. So that sucked for them. Not good at all actually. 

So we've made some changes to help that. You can now signup and log into VITY using traditional methods of email and password registration. No one is forced to use social login any longer smile


Campaign and Profile Moderation Tools Are Live

One of the more obvious problem areas for a system like VITY, whatwith us being 100% open to all, is that, well, anyone can join. We've opened the doors to all and all can come in. So, of course, VITY has to fight against spam and other nonsense. And we do a pretty great job of it. We actually capture a TON of fraudulent accounts created by bots and the like. But, we've been discussing how our automated tools aren't enough; we wanted more. Just in case.

So we've rolled out a collection of tools to help with that. Now, when viewing a Social Influencer, Advertiser, or Campaign, if you find anything "off" about it, you can use our new Flagging tool to let us know about it. 

You can find the Flagging tool on all Profile and Campaign pages.

Announcing Sponsorship Campaigns

Product Placement. Shout Out. Review. VITY officially recognized those as types of Campaigns. You want to show off your product or service, you want someone to talk about your product or service, and/or you wanted someone to mention your product or service in some way. Easy enough to grasp. But not enough either. VITY needed to offer more. Oh, sorry; MOOAAARRR...

Vanilla Sponsorships

As with all VITY Campaign types, they're more informative than an implementation, so while the following is the ideal, it's by no means definitive. Still, that said, a VITY Sponsorship Campaign comes with certain implications. Mainly, that your promotion from a Social Influencer is to be based around an event of some sort. To make things simple for everyone, we've broken up Sponsorship Campaigns around 2 sub groups: Financial Sponsorship and Product Sponsorship.

Financial Sponsorships

Financial Sponsorships are the most familiar to VITY Campaigns; you give someone money except this time, instead of you expecting them to do something on your behalf, you're getting sponsorship promotions. Whatever that may be... Pretty straightforward actually. But then there are...

Product Sponsorships

And here's where VITY makes things easy for everyone; Product Sponsorships don't involve money or financial support (directly). Product Sponsorships revolve around gifting products and/or services to Social Influencers. In exchange, well, you'll have to negotiate the "in exchange" part, but know that so long as it doesn't involve money there won't be any charges from VITY for the pleasure. 

You can get started with Sponsorship Campaigns now.

Updates to Instagram Integration

Due to some changes in the Instagram Terms of Use, we've recently had to update our Instagram integration so it doesn't use the Instagram API any longer. In this post, I want to go over why this is and what the implications are for everybody. 

So What Happened?

Essentially, Instagram has tightened their grip on the "how" their API is used and doesn't want to allow for what VITY does. And it makes sense; VITY being a network to allow Advertisers to connect with Instagram users, we'd be in clear violation of their terms of use to force the issue. So, while we could get around this we've decided internally to abide by their decision and not force the point. Besides, as you'll see below, it doesn't really affect us too much. 

What Does This Mean?

Honestly, not much. All we've used Instagram for previously was to verify account ownership, and there are other ways to do that without using the Instagram API. Which is exactly what we've done. 

Now, if you want to link your Instagram to your VITY account, you'll just go through a similar workflow to the Vine setup. Tell VITY who you are, hit up the VITY Instagram account and leave a comment, and we'll personally verify your details. 

As always, let us know if you have any questions.

Search By Campaign Types

Today's update is a short one but a good one.; we've enabled a new search filter to allow for searching by Campaign Type. Essentially, Social Influencers can now search for Campaigns based on what they want to do, and Advertisers can search for Social Influencers by what they're willing to do. This should make it a LOT easier to find just the right Campaign or Social Influencer to fit your needs.

You can find the new filters while searching regardless of Advertiser or Social Influencer.

Escrow Time ‘twas a Silly Idea…

Today's announcement is all for the Social Influencer. And, as the title implies, it's GOOD news; VITY is officially killing the Escrow Time on payments. No idea what that means? Keep reading smile

So, previously, VITY would add on a 5 day escrow period on all approved and released money from an Advertiser to a Social Influencer. Our heart was in the right place; the thinking was that the 5 days would allow any activity to percolate and prevent the Social Influencer from removing the content. Turns out, that's a problem that didn't exist. 

And after a few dozen questions from Social Influencers, rightly, wondering where their funds are, we've made the decision to remove the escrow time. So now, when money is released by the Advertiser, it's automatically added to the queue for transfer and will happen within minutes. 

In addition to removing the Escrow time, we've also enabled Social Influencer fees on all transactions. For now, that fee is 5% of your total rate so be sure to account for that while bidding. And to help with that, you'll notice a new calculator among the tools to do the math for you.

As always, if there are any questions or concerns, please leave a comment below.