Monday, December 17, 2007

Zoom, you chase the day away

(With apologies to Fat Larry)

I'd be interested to hear if anyone else out there has experience of ZoomInfo. I stumbled across it while trying to track down an old colleague. The service claims to help one "be found on the web". Since the information it contained about me was scanty and outdated, I thought I'd sign up (it's free) and get it updated. Not that I feel I need help being found online!

I completed all the required details and then reached the sticking point: verification. The last screen asked me to select my preferred method of verfication from the list in order to prevent identity fraud. The "list" displayed one single possibility: my credit card details... together with assurances that they would not be abused. My response? Yeah right!

I have been the victim of credit card fraud/identity theft before, and I'm a little skittish about handing out my details - especially in a situation where no money is supposed to change hands.

I emailed them asking for an alternative method of verification. The reply, from a member of their technical support team, advised me that this was the only method of verification available:

To ensure that people are who they say they are, we must verify their identity, and an online credit card transaction is the safest and most effective method for us to minimize the possibility of mischief.
Once again they assured me that my details would not be used for any nefarious purposes (my words, not theirs) and (and this is the kicker) boasted that there was "no charge for this service".

My reply started as follows:
I don't intend to be difficult, but I don't see how you think that your insistence that you have no plans to misuse my credit card details should reassure me. After all, if you were planning to misuse my credit card details, you would hardly be likely to say so.
Am I being unreasonable?


Harold Jarche said...

No you are not being unreasonable. I just checked my account with zoominfo, which I created a long time ago, and I did not need to give credit card info. I would not have provided it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Karyn -

Thanks for sharing your experience. ZoomInfo is always soliciting feedback, and we certainly understand your concerns. Typically, we offer two ways to verify your identity. The majority of the folks who claim their profiles can do so via an email verification process. Unfortunately, our system didn't have an email associated with your profile so we couldn't offer that solution to you.

As you discovered, for instances when that happens we offer the ability to use a credit card to verify who you are -- the process is very similar to using a card when checking in at the airport. No transaction occurs, but we're able to confirm your identity.

Regarding your identity theft/fraud concerns, we've taken several precautionary steps to protect you. ZoomInfo's process is secured by GeoTrust (, as are many of the online transactions that occur daily. For what it's worth, I assure you it's a safe and secure process.

We understand the concerns you've expressed, and are looking at other verification methods for the future. Technically speaking, it's a fairly large challenge :)

Apologies for the lengthy comment, but I wanted to address all your points. Feel free to email me directly with any additional questions or concerns you may have (hanson [at] zoominfo [dot] com).

Kari Hanson, ZoomInfo

Anonymous said...

I just checked mine and was able to do it with email verification rather than credit card. I understand your reluctance though; I'd be scared about using the credit card too.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather we gain more comfort about who is who on the web. And not just for individuals, but for legit businesses I may want to use.

A small step for verification goes a long way for making online profiles valuable. When I blog and link to someone's profile, or seek info on a business, I like the idea that the profile host took at least some steps on verification. Then we begin to gain a true index of record on the web that can be trusted for business actions, not just for swapping partying stories.

That said, credit cards should be only one option of several on the verification step. Disclosure: ZoomInfo has sponsored some of my podcasts.