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This article was published on July 15, 2011

    Sina Weibo ramps up efforts to establish a real-identity social network

    Sina Weibo ramps up efforts to establish a real-identity social network
    Francis Tan
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    Francis Tan

    Francis Tan is the Asia editor of TNW, who is based in the Philippines. He is particularly interested in Asian Internet startups, social me Francis Tan is the Asia editor of TNW, who is based in the Philippines. He is particularly interested in Asian Internet startups, social media and e-commerce. Get in touch with him via Twitter @francistan or Email [email protected].

    Sina Weibo, China’s hottest Twitter-like microblogging platform, is pushing a new user verification program called DaRen (达人), meaning “expert” in Chinese, in a bid to build a real-identity social network, reports TechRice.

    The verification system is not mandatory for new signups and is open to users who aren’t well-known professionals or celebrities.

    Aside from the credentials required for the existing real-name verification system for professionals and celebrities such as passport number, National ID and residential address, there are a few other criteria to qualify for a DaRen status.

    Users should have have a real profile picture, a mobile number linked to the account, have at least 100 followers and follow at least 100 other users, with at least 30 mutual follows. According to TechRice, the program is still in beta so the requirements are “relaxed.”

    Additionally, users are asked to choose three main interests from 15 categories including Movie, Music, Travel, Fashion, Literature, Animation, Horoscope, among others. As an incentive, they get a shiny red star on their Weibo profile and a dashing label: “expert.”

    Image courtesy of TechRice

    The DaRen verification system is an ingenious way to filter active users from spam accounts. Although merely having a red star on one’s profile page might not be compelling for some, it’s a very creative way to encourage users to verify their accounts, and it certainly opens up possibilities — unlockable features for DaRen accounts, perhaps?