Identifying You: eBay’s Identity Management Solutions Spread Out

By: Sebastian Rupley, eBay News Team

In this interview, Kelly Vincent discusses what to expect from eBay on the identity front.

At eBay, we always remain focused on providing secure authentication and strong identity management solutions for our customers. And, increasingly, customers demand newer and easier ways to identify themselves online, on mobile apps, and elsewhere.

In 2016, we will roll out many new identity-focused technologies and solutions. Kelly Vincent, Senior Director of Product Management, is helping to lead these efforts. We caught up with her for an interview on what to expect. Here are her thoughts.

As we expand our focus on identity technologies and practices, what are our primary goals?

Identity at eBay is focused on ensuring that customers have easy, secure access to eBay.  One of our guiding principle is to offer customers choice.  If customers want to use a password, that option is available and will be even made easier; if they want to access eBay in other ways, we will also serve them and give them choices.  Our philosophy is that customers should “have it their way.”

For example, ‘TouchID’ and ‘One Time Passwords’ are popular methods for signing in on mobile devices, and we are going to offer them to our customers. Whatever the customer’s preference for accessing eBay, we want to make it available and secure.

One specific project you’re working on is currently called “Reclaim Email.” Can you describe what this project is?

Part of providing access to eBay is to enable customers to easily set up an account with their preferred email address.

Today, an email address can only be associated with a single eBay account.  Therefore, a customer who tries to register with an email address of an existing account will be blocked from registering a new account on eBay. 

In the next quarter we will roll out a flow that allows a customer who can’t access their account the ability to easily register for a new account with his or her existing email address.

How has the security and authentication landscape changed in recent times, and how is eBay responding to the evolution of threats?

Technology has enabled people to secure their accounts and online activities in new ways, but it has also enabled fraudsters to come up with new ways to access accounts and private information.

The approach we’re taking with identity is to make enhancements for the safekeeping of our customers while offering customers flexibility and new ways to access their accounts.

To make this happen, there are actions we are asking customers to take, and there are actions we are putting in place “under the hood.”

For example, in order to protect our customers, we need accurate contact information.  There is a big push right now on our site and our mobile app to offer customers quick and easy ways to update their account information.

We are also putting features in place that enable customers to proactively protect their accounts, such as opting in to activity alerts.  These optional features put customers in the drivers seat for protecting their accounts.

Behind the scenes we are coming up with creative ways to protect our customers.  For example, we are working on automatically confirming identity, instead of requiring customers to provide an update.  We strive to offer a seamless and frictionless experience for our customers.

What will we see from eBay on the identity front in the next year?

Within the course of the next twelve months, customers will see a multitude of additional methods for accessing eBay and keeping their accounts and information secure. We want to give customers flexible options for access while keeping their data and accounts safe.