Currently when someone adds a social network to their card we verify the account details are correct.
We do this using Facebook connect for Facebook and a site scraping solution for all the other social networks. The scraping is quite fragile as it can break when sites are updated (and often this updating is done for some users first so it breaks for some people first). We end up needing to fix the scraping logic each month on several of the 30 networks we support. By sticking to this verification for all networks has meant that for manageability reasons we’ve had to restrict the number of networks that we support.
On our new site (due out in a few weeks) we will have a new strategy:
- We will expand the networks supported, first to 50 and then to 100 and more.
- We will verify only networks which support Open Authentication (oAuth) which is a standard for connecting without scraping and without asking the user for his/her password. This also includes Facebook with Facebook connect.
- For sites which don’t support oAuth we’ll ask just for a user name or profile name.