So here is the other question: Is the 4th dan who has "20 yrs of hard" work who defeated many 4th, 5th, and 6th degree certified ITF /TKD black belts in well respected NASCA/KRANE and IPPONE tournaments (who got his 4th dan through correspondence) have more of a valid rank because he beat them and has more experience or are their ranks more valid with less time, less experience and got their asses whipped? My answer is neither.
Rank in the industry today because we are all in the gray area is based upon a "number of factors" and "testing in person" is only "one possible gauge" although not the "ultimate gauge". And people who try to use that as the ultimate gauge are simply trying to validate their own rank because they have lacked most likely in one of the other areas that are used to make a gauge of a person’s validity.
As far as the industry as a whole....I disagree..maybe in TKD "tests in person" for the higher dans is looked upon as legitimacy(although I know many TKD teachers who got their higher ranks from people from other styles and through correspondence). Most grand masters out there today especially from other styles than TKD got there higher ranks though correspondence....sorry that is a fact. Here is another fact... Ed Parker the Father of American Kenpo Karate, ...he never tested his students. His ranks were given based upon "time in grade". Does that mean all of us Karate people who descended from him are invalid?