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Implementation Working Group

Public Group active 6 years, 9 months ago

Online Constituent ID Business Models (5 posts)

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  • Avatar Image Wayne said 6 years, 11 months ago:

    One of the “standards” that needs to be implemented is an online constituent identity system. There are a lot of ways to implement this technically but that is a matter for a different discussion. Here, I want to brainstorm business models that could make this sort of effort sustainable.

    Who wants this? Who would pay for it? What will make it viable? What key features need to be there to make it worth paying for? Let’s just throw out some ideas to see what we can get started.

  • Avatar Image Wayne said 6 years, 11 months ago:

    Who can pay for this?

    The costs associated with verifying an individuals constituency could be borne by the individual herself, by an advocacy group that is driving messages to the Hill, or by the elected officials through the vendors that are providing constituent management systems to them.

    Part of the complexity is that the costs are greater for initial verification. Once people have been verified, the ID is cheap (or maybe free) to continue to use. Thus, for any system other than the citizen paying, the early players will bear a greater cost than those that join later. This could be a hindrance to early adoption if we don’t establish a fair system for this.

    By the other token, it may make sense to simply attach a per-use price to the service. This could be just enough to cover the costs of verification on the first use, but to make a small profit on continued use. This model may work better where citizens are NOT footing the costs, since it also provides an opportunity for the vendors to cover their costs of incorporating this new functionality into their current services.

    That’s my opening volley in this discussion – let me know what you think.

  • Avatar Image Lucas Cioffi said 6 years, 11 months ago:

    It seems reasonable to assume that advocacy groups would want their members’ voices to be heard louder. Politicians are more likely to listen to constituents with verified ID, so there is surely value for advocacy groups in having their members verified. That means they should be willing to pay, right-o? That’s one revenue stream. Maybe the question is pay in bulk or pay per person?

  • Avatar Image Wayne said 6 years, 10 months ago:

    Very interesting idea, Lucas. I suppose the business model could be a minimum charge for up to a certain of sign-ups. These would be referred from an advocacy group that is using the service.

  • Avatar Image Wayne said 6 years, 10 months ago:

    Had a nice meeting to discuss this further with @kward and @flafeer this afternoon. Here are the brief notes.

    *Full voter registration verification vs. just constituency verification
    We came to the conclusion that voter reg is a preferable system, but the system also needs to provide constituency verification. This should be easy since address verification is all that’s required for constituency verification and that is also a key component for voter reg.

    The rationale behind this is that voter reg takes into account a lot of things that are difficult to verify otherwise, like age, eligibility to vote, citizenship, etc… and elected officials are primarily interested in people who can vote. The lesser level of constituent proof is also important however as they don’t want to block legitimate constituents that have recently moved to the area, are just about to register to vote, etc…

    *Functional Business Model
    @kward pointed out that Fireside 21 currently uses a similar system for verifying postal addresses of incoming constituent messages. This system verifies that it’s a real address and formats it in proper post office format, along with providing some additional info such as county, precincts, etc…
    – this system has a subscription based model which is pay-per-use for small volume, but just an annual fee after a certain level

    @kward will provide examples of the companies that do this so that we can look at their models and perhaps include them in these discussions in the future.

    Additional services that a vendor could provide to CMS vendors that serve elected officals:
    – other contact data: so that duplicate entries in the constituent database could be discovered and merged. This could include social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook, phone or fax numbers they may have called from previously, previous addresses, etc…
    – demographic data: while this information is available from a multitude of sources, the vendor could also be a clearing house for it, providing it already matched up with the voter list

    *Other discussions
    State voter reg files are a mess. Each state does it differently, some will be housed at Sec of State’s office, others must be retrieved individually from each county.
    – Perhaps there is an opportunity here in standardizing the voter reg files and making them available.
    – companies like Aristotle and Catalyst already do this, but use the data for other purposes, eg political campaigns – we should approach them about what we’re doing and see how to get them involved