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How does AE Merge One Member's Multiple Accounts?

If a member has registered using one of their social media accounts, then signs up with another social media account later, AE attempts to identify and merge the two member records so that it is read as a single user.

In cases where the accounts cannot be merged right away, Appreciation Engine can merge multiple accounts later, once there is enough information to confirm that two member profiles are in fact the same person.

How Does Matching Work?

There are a few different scenarios where account matching occurs and happens automatically:

  • A member signs into AE Connect for the first time. An initial member record is created, and whatever service they signed in with (e.g. Facebook, Spotify, email) is added as the service record attached to that member.
  • A member is currently signed into AE Connect and signs in with a new service. While that member is signed in, any other services they add are automatically attached to that same member record.
  • A member is signed out, but then signs in with a previously used service. We are able to match this member to the ID on the service record, so whenever the member is signed in, no new records are created.
  • An existing member signs in via a new application. If you have different applications set up for and and a user signs up on both websites, their member record can still be merged. For example, if they use Facebook to sign up for both websites, these Facebook services will both be added separately to the member record. 
  • A member is signed out but signs in with a new service. Appreciation Engine does not have the service ID for this social service on record yet, so a new record is created. However, if a verified email is attached during the new account creation, we can match this to existing records with verified emails. If there is a match, both services are attached to the same account. If no match is found on verified email, a new member record will be created.

Tip: You can set the verified email to be a required field via your AE JS framework settings. This can help you ensure that duplicate accounts are always matched.

How Does Merging Work?

Generally, in the account scenarios above, the accounts will be merged automatically. However, if two different member records are created for one user, the accounts can still be merged later.

As more social networks are attached to the user, Appreciation Engine gathers more context about each member record. Once it has enough context, it can tell whether two records are actually the same person.

For example, if a member's verified email matches another member record, the two accounts will automatically merge. It should never be the case that two separate members have the same email address. Similarly, if a service ID matches two records, then those accounts will merge.

When accounts are being merged, there are a few rules that Appreciation Engine follows:

  • If one member is logged in and the other is not logged in, accounts always merge as the user who is currently logged in.
  • Administrators and AE dashboard users are never merged under any circumstances.

What Does "Merge" Actually Mean?

The purpose of merging is to turn multiple member records into one record. This makes referring to a member more straightforward in the dashboard and from the API. 

All activity and services attached to an un-merged member are re-attached to the newly-merged member record. Once the data is merged, the updated member is logged in.

What Records Are Merged?

Appreciation Engine automatically populates any available fields on the final member account based on data from the two merged members.

For example: 

  • The logged-in user has a country attached to them, but no city.
  • The other user to be merged has a city but no country. 
  • The final merged member will have both country and city information attached.

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