Adopt OpenID and live!

Social network site operators could gain competitive advantage relative to the bigger players by adopting open identity standards like OpenID.
Written by Phil Windley, Contributor

Fred Stutzman is on a mission to get emerging social networking sites (SNS) to adopt OpenID. His chief analogy: email addresses are more valuable because they're open--so would SNS operations if they used an open profile. OpenID is one of the emerging open identity standards that I believe will remake the Web (and maybe save it from its own success).

Will SNS operators flock to OpenID? I don't know. Larger, established sites have little incentive, but I believe that there's competitive advantage for the smaller ones in such a move. Maybe not in the sharing of profiles--many SNS operators will view that as a downside. The advantage is in reducing the overhead of managing passwords and giving users easy access to the SNS site. In addition, some SNS operators may decide to become identity providers and let users use their accounts as OpenID identifiers.

These are the kinds of issues we'll be discussing at next week's Internet Identity Workshop. If you can't make it, I'll be posting updates on the workshop here at Between the Lines and on my blog, tagged iiw2006.

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