How does email validation help teenagers interact online?

Sulake is the creator of ‘Habbo’ a social platform that’s the world’s most popular hang-out for teenagers. It’s a multi-player experience, shaped as a huge hotel where millions of people interact, create their own rooms and live out their fantasies. Habbo is well established, with over 300 million users registered and over 120 million user generated rooms.

So why did Leo Jaaskelainen, Senior Systems Administrator at Sulake’s product development offices in Helsinki need to look for email validation?

What was the problem?

Quite simply, email validation was needed to help keep Habbo running effectively and to help keep Habbo users safe.

Like most cloud applications and social platforms, an email address is a digital fingerprint that is important as a security check, an account setting fail-safe and as a marker that is constant through the lifecycle of the user.

Leo explains why the Hippo API was installed; “Our user case is pretty simple. We use Hippo at registration time. People need to enter their email address, there’s no way they can register without email. We installed the API to stop bad email addresses.”

“We need to be 100% certain that we have a real user at the end of a real email address.”

As Habbo grew, the importance of capturing real email addresses at sign-up grew too. And then disposable email addresses became a problem.

It was Leo’s colleagues in ‘user care’ who first noticed a problem with disposable email addresses. “They noticed that there was a ‘toxic user’  trying to create hundreds of accounts with fake email addresses.”

Thanks to Email Hippo, in about 20% of sign-up attempts the user is asked to enter a correct address. That’s mis-spells, attempts to use made up email addresses or toxic users trying to sign-in with disposable emails. The ‘border patrol’ by the Email Hippo API means that the moderation team who monitor the site are able to spend more time engaging with users and adding value to the service and less time behind the scenes chasing down fake people. It’s good news all round.

“Online security has been and continues to be core to our offering. Hippo helps us to stop toxic people at the border.” Leo Jaaskelainen, Senior Systems Administrator