A tru.ly useful way to verify identities online

Web startup tru.ly promises to tell the world you really are who you say you are - honest.

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Gordon acknowledges they’ve had some problems with the browser plug ins and are working on a fix. The bigger challenge is the obvious chicken and egg problem – i.e., how to get enough people to use tru.ly that it become an (ahem) truly useful service, and not just something used by a handful of geeks who really need to get out more. Gordon hinted at partnerships with entities like dating sites and commenting engines that could help bring tru.ly into the mainstream.

He also acknowledges that some people will bristle at the idea of a service that pins down their identity online. He says tru.ly will have the ability to verify your identity without necessarily revealing your personal information to anyone else – essentially saying that, yes, this person is real, even if you don’t know his or her actual name.

“We’re not trying to force people to communicate across the Net in a verifiable way all the time,” he says. “We just want to allow people to share what they want to share in a verifiable way, when they want to do so. There will be a time when you need to show who you are for some service or transaction, even if only happens once a year.”

I think authentication and identity are going to be huge issues, especially as our socially networked selves become our virtual representatives in cyberspace. More and more deals, jobs, and relationships will happen entirely in the non-meatspace, and we’ll all need a way to know who we’re really dealing with. If that’s not tru.ly, exact.ly, it will be something much like it.

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