The popular QRZ.com amateur radio website has dropped its verified member program, which the site instituted last year in an effort to combat fraud and password phishers. Termination of the program was due to “a number of factors,” the site’s founder and president Fred Lloyd, AA7BQ, explained in a post. Lloyd said the change will “transition our online swapmeet rules to reflect more open policies.” The site had offered the option of establishing two-factor authentication (2FA) for its registered users, which would secure a user’s password on the site. The site introduced two-factor authentication last June and later the verified member program.
“While two-factor authentication has worked very well, the identity verified program hasn’t worked as well as we’d hoped. There has been a net decrease in swapmeet traffic, primarily due to members not wishing to take the extra steps to get verified. The swapmeet did seem to get safer, but also notably quieter. The forum has lost some of the excitement that it used to be known for.”
Lloyd said the identity verified program was designed to provide an extra level of confidence to swapmeet participants, but “in practical terms, its validation methods were not sustainable.” Not only was it an administrative burden, Lloyd explained, but the majority of its participants were only complying reluctantly. “The bottom line is that it’s been unpopular,” he said.
Lloyd said that by dropping the identity verified requirement, QRZ expects to see an increase in equipment listings and greater participation.
Individuals listing equipment will still need to provide photos of actual items for sale, and photos must include the seller’s call sign. Only ham members — those having a listed call sign page — may sell in the swapmeet. Those perusing the listings will generally be allowed to post comments or questions about any listing, Lloyd said.
“Swapmeet users will be responsible for vetting their own deals and parties,” Lloyd added. “There is plenty of online advice for those who are new to online trading. QRZ is not responsible for the success or failure of any transaction between private parties using its public swapmeet forum. When it comes to your deal, you must regard QRZ as a non-participant. In other words, if the deal goes bad, it’s not QRZ’s fault and in general, we won’t be able to help you.”
Lloyd said that QRZ did not save documents that were provided for user identification. Two-factor authentication will remain an option, but swapmeet users will not be required to use it.