2018 is coming to a close. Wow, feels like it was just a few weeks ago that I wrote this blog post about 2017. Continuing the tradition, here are a few thoughts around our product progress in 2018 and what is in store for 2019.
In general, our focus hasn’t changed much. A relentless pursuit of global identity verification and continuing to provide the best-in-class solution available in the market is our mission statement that we live and die by here at Whitepages Pro. I feel pretty proud of what we accomplished this year and how 2019 is shaping up. Here are some of the critical themes of the work we did in 2018, and also what we’ll continue to drive towards in 2019.
Our mission is Global Identity Verification. This means providing identity verification across the globe, not only to a single country or a region. We should be able to find fraud and identify good customers to reduce friction globally. Period. We made great strides this year increasing our coverage of identities globally. From Mexico and Brazil to Great Britain and Australia, our coverage has improved drastically in every region across the globe. Internal KPIs consistently show improving predictability quarter over quarter due to this increased coverage; the proof lies in the global companies who saw our progress and then incorporated our solutions.
Network and Insights
From delivering a confidence score for transactions outside of the US/Canada to adding more network attributes that improve the fidelity and predictability of our scores, we continue to invest heavily in our data science arm. I feel proud about so much that our team has accomplished this year. However, I would specifically like to call out the “reason codes” (i.e. explainability) of our scores within Pro Insight and our name matching improvements globally. The explainability is especially great as it provides manual review agents with added trust and confidence on the score by detailing how it was calculated and what factors came into play. Over a period of time, those manual review agents gain efficiency by making quicker, more informed decisions off the scores. The work that went in to exposing these “reason codes” has been truly innovative and, for me, is the single biggest highlight of 2018.
In a similar vein, naming matching was a focal point of our efforts. For example, how do you match these two names? Alejandra Monserrat Catalan Peñuelas and Catalan Alejandra. One is what we have in our identity graph and the other was provided to the merchant as part of a transaction. This is a challenge we will continue to face and overcome as part of our global data expansion. Better name matching is fundamental to our core mission of reducing false positives, hence all the effort and improvements here.
We had two major pieces of progress I wanted to to call out, the first being Identity Check 3.3–specifically, a few attributes like Billing to Shipping match (linked_to_primary_resident). What we found, being in the field and seeing how our merchants assess the risk associated with a transaction, was if the billing and shipping names didn’t match, it automatically increased the risk associated with the transaction. However, as I mentioned above, we focus on reducing the false positives, and this was a classic case where our identity data graph and the linkages that we can find between people and/or businesses is unparalleled. We took these linkage insights to check if the billing person and shipping person are associated with each other somehow: Maybe they are relatives? Perhaps they shared the same house or an apartment 10, 15 or even 20 years ago? Any linkage can potentially be a positive signal that helps mitigate the risk associated with the transaction and thus adds efficiency to the transaction processing.
Another item I want to call out here is the Pro Insight launch, which brought to manual review agents a streamlined user experience for the global audience; “reason codes” that I talked about above; and a new maps experience, just to name a few highlights.
2018 feels like an inflection point for the adoption of Pro Insight. In the last year alone, its growth and adoption has increased by over 37%, and I cannot wait to see its continued growth in 2019.
Overall, 2018 has been a solid year. The focus moving forward into 2019 will continue on these themes. I am particularly excited about some response time improvements coming that enable identity verification in auth scenarios. Without spilling too much here, we are focused on delivering our complete identity verification in sub 100 ms timeframe, globally. More on that coming soon.
Thank you again for all the feedback. As I mention, it is this feedback and iterations that has brought us a long way to deliver a global market leading identity verification solution. We are in it for a long haul making our products 1% better every day.