At DemoFall 2006, PrefPass introduced a way to personalize Web sites without having to register. The software allows users to anonymously share their preferences with sites without any passwords. Sounds like a good idea, although the depth of the personalization is limited. Users provide sources, such as favorite Web sites or blogs and keywords (tags). If a Web site is integrated with PrefPass, basically accepting it as a service, users click a icon that grants access to the site and a view into their preferences gleaned from signing up for PrefPass. The visited site is able to serve up content and ads based on the preferences. PrefPass also has a control panel widget for keeping track of PrefPass sites that you visit, and the activity. PrefPass publishers also benefit from understanding what visitors are interested, and the company provides reports and tag clouds of aggregated user data.
One problem is that PrefPass has to convince publishers and developers to offer the service on their sites. So far, TechCrunch, Metroblogging and Tailrank have signed up for the beta. CEO Adam Marsh said that his company is talking to bigger sites, such as the New York Times. It may be the PrefPass will power the long tail of sites rather than the big ones, unless a viral community of users creates overwhelming demand.