Stimulus is the first social network that verifies anyone who wants to interact with other users. This helps mitigate spam, fraud, and abuse, and allows brands to host giveaways to real people instead of spending money on advertising to an unknown audience that could primarily be composed of bots.
Problem: Sticker Mule noticed that most social media networks have design flaws that encourage bad behavior
Anthony Constantino, cofounder of Sticker Mule, never intended to create a social network. “I was never a fan of social media,” he says. “It’s a very dark place — the design decisions baked into mainstream platforms provoke people into a very hateful direction, and it bothered me.”
In particular, Anthony disliked how most social platforms allow anonymity — or at least don’t do much to verify that individuals are who they say they are — which encourages bad behavior. “When people can operate anonymously, they’re going to operate in a different manner than when they have to use their face,” he says.
Additionally, it’s easy for individuals to use bots and fake accounts to manipulate public perception. “If somebody wants to paint a picture that the cool thing to do today is bash so-and-so, they can easily create a large number of bots and make it appear as if the whole world feels this way,” he adds.
As the saying goes, if you want something done right, do it yourself, so when Sticker Mule’s CFO suggested they build their own social network, Anthony took on the challenge — and Stimulus was born. “We wanted to show that social media could be a much more positive force — that it could uplift society and push it in a better direction.”
Solution: Sticker Mule launched Stimulus, which verifies every user through Persona to build a more trustworthy and genuine community
To prove social media could be a happier place, Anthony knew he wanted Stimulus users to engage as themselves. “We want social media to better reflect real life — and in real life, people can see your face and know who you are,” he explains. “People operating under their real names are going to behave better. When you're engaging with other humans, you should be doing it as yourself.”
The solution: verifying anyone who wants to do more than browse — e.g. users who want to post on Stimulus or interact with others on the platform. “KYC naturally pushes things in a more positive direction because everyone knows every single person on the platform is a real person, which means they’ll take each other seriously and treat each other with respect.”
The problem was, he wasn’t sure how to go about verifying everyone. “We had to figure out how to solve all these things. When we decided to build Stimulus, we didn’t even know what KYC was — we just knew we wanted to verify users,” he shares. “So we started investigating how to go about doing it.”
Fortunately, Anthony soon discovered they wouldn’t have to build the technology from scratch. After evaluating a number of IDV solutions, Sticker Mule chose Persona for the following reasons:
Proven track record
Convincing individuals to submit personal information to verify their identity isn’t easy, so Stimulus wanted a trustworthy identity partner who had a proven track record.
“It’s a massive educational process on our end to tell people that digital identity verification (IDV) is normal and safe,” Anthony says. “With Persona, we can give people a sense of confidence that we’re working with someone that specializes in KYC and supports major financial institutions.”
Even better, Persona securely stores PII for companies, allowing Anthony’s team to focus on what they do best. “Conducting KYC ourselves would’ve put an additional layer of burden on us to take responsibility for the security of the data.”
Innovation and technical expertise
Sticker Mule started off offering custom stickers but has since expanded to magnets, buttons, t-shirts, and even hot sauce — and it wanted to find a partner that would match its fast-paced, creative culture. “Persona is most in line with us from an innovation perspective. In a way, they’re increasing our developer headcount because they’ve got a team of bright people working on identity verification for us.”
This is especially important because fraud is constantly evolving, and the identity space needs to be able to keep up. “KYC isn’t something you just do and move on. All of these technologies are going to have to keep improving and innovating, and we’re excited to see that Persona is doing that.”
Sticker Mule is known for making things easy by offering design tools, online proofs, free worldwide shipping, and super fast turnarounds. As such, they were drawn to Persona’s similar ethos.
“We were talking to different providers and wanted to move quickly, and Persona made onboarding the easiest,” Anthony shares. “We reached out, got a quote and our API, and were able to get going almost immediately.”
Even when users believe a process is safe, they still don’t like to jump through hoops. One of Sticker Mule’s primary concerns when looking for an identity partner was ensuring the solution would make onboarding as frictionless as possible — while still weeding out bad actors. “People don’t like to do work. Between getting your ID out and scanning your face, it can be a long process,” Anthony begins. “Persona makes the verification process seamless and easy, and as a result, we’re at a pretty good rate on conversion.”
While this is partially due to design features we’ve baked into the platform, such as auto-capture, live guidance, and easy device hand-off, Stimulus also partnered very closely with the Persona team to customize their verification flows to look and sound like their brand. In addition, Persona automates 99% of decisions for Stimulus, which means users can get verified and begin interacting with other users on the platform quickly.
Result: Stimulus has verified thousands of users and continues to grow its social platform with Persona
In Stimulus’ launch month alone, it verified over 10,000 users through Persona, and it is excited to continue influencing other social networks’ decisions and creating a happier community.
“Verification is making people happier. On Stimulus, everyone knows that every single person on there is a real person, and users have a better experience because they’re treated with respect — as they should be,” says Anthony. “I think all social media, if it wants to go in a positive direction, is going to migrate toward verifying everyone.”