Amidst increasing pressure from the law and creepy renters, the world's best urban vacation rental startup is forcing users to fork over government-issued photo I.D. so they can crosscheck your identity against your social media account... all to rent a cheap apartment. Yes, Airbnb is now more strict than most bars.
The company announced its new double-I.D. verification strategy Tuesday. You can use your passport, state identification card, or driver's license for your physical I.D., and then your Facebook, LinkedIn, or three previous good reviews on Airbnb for your Internet I.D. The Airbnb community thrives on good reviews, so this is clearly intended as a way to fend off creeps more than it is to complicate matters for power users, but it's something of a first for a tech startup to ask you to show an identification card. Of course, plenty of sites use a two-step authentication technique requiring a user's cellphone to activate an account — some are pushing Twitter to enact that same policy — but Airbnb is the first to go all bouncer-outside-the-door on you.