A fake Twitter-style verified badge for the home gets real takers
Twitter has verified you, but why stop there? Affixing a big blue check mark to the front of your home lets the whole neighborhood know you’re important. At least that’s the idea behind the new service Blue Check Homes.
“The blue verified badge on your house lets people outside know that you’re an authentic public figure,” the website reads. “To receive the blue check crest, there must be someone authentic and notable actively living in the house.”
The criteria for getting a home badge become increasingly satiric as you continue reading. Yet the joke website from San Francisco designer and artist Danielle Baskin has drawn real interest since her Friday tweet announcing it got liked and retweeted thousands of times. More than 500 people have signed up for a badge so far, Baskin says, and though some of them are clearly in on the joke, she still felt compelled to add a disclaimer to the Blue Check Homes site.
“If you thought this was a full-fledged service, please investigate the things you read on the internet,” the disclaimer reads.
Baskin often creates cultural send-ups, particularly of “internet vanity culture and terrible capitalist ideas.” She also makes quirky real products like a battery pack that looks like a Pokeball and custom-printed respirator masks that bear images of the wearer’s face.
She got the idea for a verified badge for houses after wondering aloud on Twitter why some Victorian homes bear a particular blue shield with a diagonal purple stripe. Was the crest purely ornamental or did it signify something historic?
One of her followers called the shields old-style versions of Twitter blue check marks, and Baskin was off birthing Blue Check Homes. The company claims to sell the modernized version of those Victorian crests to signal importance through a blue check like the one that appears next to some names on social media.
The criteria for who qualifies for this status symbol are amusingly, and randomly, specific, underscoring just how subjective social status really is.
“Besides indicating that a brand is authentic, the blue check for public figures doesn’t really mean much,” Baskin tells me. “Maybe you have one because you were on Twitter early or you know who works there, or you just randomly got in because you once appeared in a news article or own a trademark.
“There are plenty of influential public figures who don’t have one and don’t want one,” she adds. “And yet, seeing the blue check shapes our perception of that person.”
Among those eligible for a $3,000 life-size blue badge of honor are “homeowners who are athletes or on professional esports leagues, and coaches listed on the official team website or who have three or more featured references within the six months prior to applying in news outlets such as Kotaku, Polygon or IGN.”
Also invited to apply are “homeowners who are actors with at least five production credits on their IMDb profile.”
The site invites such prominent people to apply for a badge. Then all they have to do is wait for a review, interview with the Blue Check Homes “authenticity board” and pay $3,000. It’s a great deal considering the fee includes a custom-painted crest background to match to your home’s color AND a free consultation to discuss the placement of the badge.
Baskin says she’ll keep the facade going by conducting a interview with applicants together with her authenticity board made up of a team of actors. Depending on how the interviews, she might even fabricate a home check mark or two.
But be warned: Blue Check Homes reserves the right to remove the blue badge from your home at any time if you no longer meet the company’s standards for being an influential person. Thankfully, the removal will not incur any additional charges.