Upcoming Seller Requirements Change: Update

April 24th 2019 Important

Please read this post for important context relating to this announcement. This blog post is a direct follow-up.

 

Last week, we announced that we would be requiring that sellers add and verify a phone number in order to deposit items. Since then, we've been reading your comments and listening to what you have to say. We'd like to offer this follow-up to show you what we've learned, what actions we're taking, and provide some clarity on the reason we're making these changes.

tl;dr: Following your feedback, we will allow verified addresses as an optional alternative to verifying a phone number. In addition, we are delaying this change until May 7th, 2019 in order to allow time for affected sellers to verify their address or phone number.

 

What we've learned

When we made the decision to require phone number verification, we did so under the assumption that our sellers all had access to a phone number capable of receiving texts. We assumed this because, in order to deposit items, sellers need to register a phone number with Steam and use the Steam Mobile Authenticator. However, we learned that some of our users do not have access to a phone number presently, even if they had one in the past to set up Steam.

Additionally, many users are understandably trepidatious about providing a phone number to a third-party website. While we guarantee never to spam or solicit our users via SMS or robocalls, we understand that many users have a very strict personal security policy whereby they simply do not share their number with third-party websites.

Finally, we learned that our reasoning for making these changes was not presented in the best way. Many users do not feel they received an adequate explanation for why we are adding additional verification requirements.

 

What we're changing

In response to user feedback, we realize that we need to provide an alternative verification measure that does not require a phone or phone number. 

To that end, a verified address will now suffice as an alternative to a verified phone number. We think this is an acceptable compromise for those few users who are unable to verify a phone number: verification is still required, but entirely possible without a phone.

Verifying your address is extremely simple:

  1. Visit your account settings page and navigate to the "Verified Billing Addresses" section
  2. Fill the form with your address. All countries (save those we legally cannot do business with per US sanctions) are supported.
  3. We will send a physical postcard containing a unique code to your address.
  4. When you receive the postcard, enter the code it contains on your account page.
  5. All done!

Domestic (US) postcard deliveries typically take under a week, while international deliveries are less predictable and may take longer.

 

Why we're requiring verification

Marketplace.tf has grown considerably since we initially opened up the ability for any Steam user to sell items. Since that time, we have seen numerous instances of scammers and fraudsters stealing items and liquidating them on Marketplace.tf. While we work to ban these users and delist their items, we often cannot do this before the items have sold. Additionally, banning seller accounts does not prevent them from creating another account.

In order to effectively combat scammers, and ensure that only legitimate users are selling items on Marketplace.tf, we need to have some form of verification on sellers. We need to be able to link accounts together using physical attributes -- phone number, address, etc. -- so that we can enforce bans on seller accounts. We cannot in good faith ban an account while doing nothing to ensure an alt account is not immediately created by the banned user. 

Quite frankly, Marketplace.tf deals with real money, and so must be held to a higher standard than other TF2-related websites. This demands that we take our position seriously; this is not just a TF2 website, but an e-commerce platform. With that comes additional moral and technical responsibilities that we must take seriously.

 We have no interest in providing scammers or fraudsters a safe haven. We owe it to our legitimate users to prevent illegitimate users from liquidating their ill-gotten goods.

 

What if I already have items deposited and can't/won't verify?

These new restrictions apply solely to depositing items. That is, you will not in any way be locked out of your account, the funds you've earned, or the items you've already deposited. You will be free to withdraw or sell items already on your account; the only restriction is that you must verify to deposit more items.

 

Privacy

All sensitive user information is encrypted using extremely strong industry-standard cryptography. We do not believe in "security through obscurity". We do not roll our own crypto.

There is no circumstance under which we would seek to financially gain from the sale of user information. It will never happen. 

Further, we are entirely self-funded, and plan to remain as such forever. The only shareholders in our company are the two owners (I'm one of them!), who are not beholden to any other moneyed interests. 

Comments
Jill:
1561719232
@4zuraBlade016: Yes my address has been verified using the postcard method. I also got 2 dollars gift card as bonus.
1561552047
I still find the address verifiication idiotic, as this won't stop scammers from existing, when you start hassling your customers it's when you lose their trust (and thus their willingness to spend money here) , also on this site we aren't going to sell guns/properties, it's insane that someone thinks it's normal to give out your personal data to a website just to buy some hats on TF2, it's like i need to tell someone where i live just to buy an used videogame. I used to like this site when only a card verification was required, it made sense, but now has gone too far, it treats all of its customers like potential thieves/scammers..
1561545786
Does anyone here already verified?
Very late, but i think it's obvious where they get the money from...
1559673209
You know wahts irony in all this? It says: we wont SHARE your number with anybody. Not a single word about SELLing those to anybody to repay all those Malaysian postcards
Jill:
1558702925
My verification postcard just arrived to Malaysia. Ez $2 guys.
1558684498
Why cannot we just do it by phone verification? Security is pretty damn insistent for a site for trading extra pixels for real money
1557754580
why i am not getting OTP, any clue
1557416188
Midnight 24.11.19 does bring up a good question though, how are you getting the money to send all these potential postcards?
1557416134
Clearly phone numbers are too much for some people, so asking for their address is the next logical step
Jill:
1557353903
isnt that more complicated than the phone number verification? lol
1557337824
Small question. Can you use same phone number on multiple accounts or only for one account? I would prefer if only for one
1557244298
Im still not getting any OTP to verify what a bad way to lose a seller
1557161174
Kind of ridiculous. If people value their privacy enough to not give out their phone number, what makes you think that they are comfortable giving their address where they live. :/
1556765092
marketplace.tf: then give us your address as an alternative :D
1556765072
5% of the community: im too paranoid to give out my phone number
if i loose access to that phone number, how will that affect my account ? On steam i have backup steam guard codes & i can access my account to add a new one
Geel:
1556653311
Nado, as the post details, you're perfectly free to only provide a phone number.
1556635292
akready done both uwu
1556564223
No you fucking bum
1556507116
Can I get another free key for adding my phone number?
1556494104
Why the...its obvious Phone number > Address. Why the hell would i give out where i live to a third party site. This is pretty retarded. Just give the option for both mate. This isint reasonable.
1556454032
I just want to know how are you getting resources (money) to send all those post cards all around the world. I do understand that marketplace userbase, which is the reason why I even question this. And yes, as always, your service has been great and easy to use.
Thank you marketplace.tf . Love your services
123:
1556275069
You big good
Fire:
1556267064
@raeindeer Using cell phone numbers is usually used to prevent someone from being scammed via them getting hacked. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't know of anyone who uses phone numbers to prevent alt accounts. As multiple people including myself has stated, if you are going to be profiting 1000s of dollars paying some money for a burner phone isn't a issue. The point of this change from my understanding is to stop people selling stolen goods, this does nothing to prevent that in my opinion. As well, it adds a extra step to legitimate users, some of which have perfectly reasonable reasons for not wanting to share their person information.
1556263967
Yeah i got sent a post card i still have it now its pretty nice that they got to the effort of doing that just imagine if they where run by valve wait we would be having this conversation until 6 years from now...
1556238026
Djeeeeeeezus christ some users here manage to complain about anything and everything. I honestly can't believe the guys behind this website would go through the trouble of sending everyone a postcard because some of you supposedly don't have a phone. If you think of a way to scam around it, congratulations. There always will be a way around. How can you, as a legitimate user not support anti scammer measures? All you have to do is supply some info and enter a code you receive. A scammer has to do more effort hiding their true identity, which is the whole purpose. If it's too much effort or you feel your privacy threatened, stop selling here. I feel genuine effort to contribute to a solution valve is not providing in any way, and i support this team and it's goals with all my lyrical and other powers. Go mptf!
1556234551
ok so i have one of those visa debit gift cards where there's a set amount of money placed on the card and you can't add any more money on it. how do i verify my stuff when i just want to feed geel money for keys? there's no name on this card or anything.
Fire:
1556233416
@Speedoe36 On Paypal the merchant would only get the address you provide to Paypal. You can put any information there, Paypal doesn't verify your address.
Fire:
1556233240
@Archer Eclipse Let's be fair. The fake quote you posted doesn't represent why addresses were added. He stated he is adding the address option for people who might not have a phone. The only reason he mentioned trepidation regarding giving out your phone number is related to not be clear about why it's being required.
1556232017
But the methods are still overly tedious, even if the tirade I went on earlier was factually incorrect
1556231985
Bear in mind fellas that if you use paypal then the merchant gets your physical address
1556218533
Not worth at all unless I could sell items from multiple games.....nor we have option to cash out in other then paypal .... you need to add more options of trade man
1556214584
Not worth at all unless I could sell items from multiple games.....
LJ:
1556206530
Steam authentication should be more than enough - all of my bigger purchases here was put "under review" anyway. If these changes land as planned I might stop using this site altogether
1556204283
@Archer Eclipse you aren't the only one who thinks it's wierd
1556199955
"Don't wanna give us your phone number because of personal security concerns? That's okay, you can just give us your address instead!" Am I the only one that thinks this is weird logic? Kinda getting tired of the amount of personal information these sites try to phish or extract out of their users.
1556198910
Neat.
Max:
1556197210
Love your work, keep it up :)
For me, confirming a phone number is totally fine, but I can't see the logic behind this address verification.
1556191440
@Fire exactly, if one was to make 1000$+ from a scam what stops them from buying a 4$ sim card from the nearest store?
1556189880
cool
1556187136
I also have a suggestion: maybe verification of an account will be needed after a certain total value of items deposited/sold/bought or only for people using some way of paying with real money. P. S. that was longer than i expected 2/2
1556187082
I don't want to share information as personal as my phone number or my irl address and to be honest I don't understand how it will help me with my selling process. I would preferably have a higher (although not really even high) risk of being scammed, rather than giving away my personal data. This is even more unnecessary when you take into account those people who have little money on their account and/or are resellers, like me. We don't have expensive items to be scammed of and this platform is then another way of low tier trading. I don't know if the majority of marketplace.tf users have hundreds of dollars on their account, but let's assume they don't. If that's true the changes aren't needed for the majority of users. Here're also some questions that interest me: How do you scam anyone using this website?; Are those changes made for high tier trading?; Why do people like resellers and usual traders have to verify their accounts as well? 1/2
These guys know how to run a site. 10/10
1556174731
Thank you for detailed explanation on the seller requirements change and giving a secondary way to verify account. I am fine with the changes as long as you don't request confirmation from phone number every time you deposit items
1556165075
I appreciate the additional way to verify, Thank you for listening to the community.
1556161651
Hail
1556157909
thanks for the update; I feel this gives a wider range of options.
1556157124
i did the address verification thing before, they mail you a code
dad:
1556156694
how do you even confirm that an address is real? couldn't someone just make up something?
1556147204
Uncomfortable*
1556147192
If you are comfortable with neither verifying your phone number or real-world address, it may be better for you not to be selling things on a semi-anonymous online marketplace.
Fire:
1556146472
@Srksi I don't think this is about taking people to trial. I believe he is doing this so he can better block banned users from selling on his site. Though I agree, I'm pretty sure if you are like a big scammer/hijacker you can buy a burner phone and it's worth it for the amount you are profiting. Not really sure how this stops those people.
Fire:
1556146121
@Speedoe36 I believe he is talking about if you want to purchase items from the site with cash or Paypal they require address information. They might get information from Paypal when you withdraw as well but you can just put false information.
1556145473
Please stop this crap! New sim card costs 2 $ here and you can buy those per kilo! Using real adress is even more abnoctious, and useless method! What? Even you find some scammer real adress what will happen there? You will ask for international trial for 50-100$? Develop some reputaion system better instead!
1556145431
@Heuy I'm just concerned about privacy and security here. I've done some searching and Paypal does indeed give the physical address on file and I as stated I stand corrected on this.
Huey:
1556145065
@speedoe rekt. anyways a good change. 100% in favor and extremely responsible of you guys
Geel:
1556144873
Yes, your physical address is shared with us by our payment processors. This is standard everywhere. We are not interested in knowing where you live, but rather, verifying _that_ you live there, solely to prevent abuse of our systems.
1556144683
If it is my physical address rather that just my email address then I stand corrected
Geel:
1556144379
Speedoe, if you pay with a PayPal account, we already receive your address.
Okay Zuckerberg
1556143958
If people weren't comfortable giving a phone number to the marketplace.tf site, they sure as hell wouldn't be comfortable putting in an address related to them either. It's a similar reasoning as to why people may use a paypal account, rather than put their card details directly on the site - it's covering their bases in case a breach occurs or out of simple distrust of a thrid party trading site in general, which in this case uses information more sensitive than information given by a steam third party site login. If I were to use this site for the first time, after this change was made, and I saw that I had to not only give a means to pay (paypal for instance, not too bad) AND provide a phone number or real life mailing address that can come back to me so that I can trade for virtual items in TF2, I don't think I would be so willing. I understand the reasoning and the logic behind this change, but will not be giving my address or phone number to this site.
1556142676
good one
1556142561
And so what cost a new phone number ? Like 10 bucks? Still worth for a scammer who steal much more from only 1 guy
1556142123
Since they can register without a verification.
1556141926
Well this or anything else wont stop the scammers . They are still will looking for us with an alt acc and will sell here with one verified main acc. Doesnt matter what you wanna do :/
1556141204
sounds scary tho
1556141021
That is really nice to know
1556140961
Glad to see a viable change
Pretty cool
1556140802
i think this will stop scammers