Some call OpenID a driver’s license for the Internet. Businesses love it because it’s a free open source solution that’s easy to implement. There are several reasons why any business can benefit from switching to the OpenID format.
OpenID, technology that allows users to have one digital identity across multiple Web sites, putting an end to site-specific account username and password login requirements, is relieving administrators and customer service departments from the daily hassles of reissuing lost or stolen passwords and usernames.
Instead of needing to remember a login and password specific to your Web site, users only need to remember their OpenID login, which may already have been created on any number of site hosts such as Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft, AOL, or others that are known as “providers.”
Your site sends the OpenID user information to the OpenID provider for authenticity (the OpenID provider is the only one who knows the password). The provider then bounces the information back, telling your site that it either is or isn’t the person logging in. This is great for businesses because you no longer have to worry about user password storage if you don’t wish to be a provider.
It may sound difficult or time consuming for a business to switch over and implement this new way of identifying its users but surprisingly it’s not. This is only one of the many reasons thousands of Web sites and hundreds of thousands of users have begun embracing the technology.
The following are three more reasons to switch to OpenID:
- Popularity: Currently there are more than 500,000 people using OpenID on the Internet and nearly 27,000 Web sites utilizing the technology. Some of the largest Internet and technology companies in the world are backing it. And while the technology was introduced in 2005, you can be sure these numbers will continue to grow as more people become aware of its simplicity and convenience.
- Convenience: OpenID allows users to have control over their login and bypass the frustration of remembering or creating new accounts. This means that businesses will have lower costs of user password and account management, if any at all, and an increase in registration conversion rates as well as visitor return rates, because OpenID can automatically recognize users when they return. OpenID gives companies the option of abandoning in-house user accounts, allowing site administrators to focus on more pressing issues.
- Security: People using OpenID have the ability to share only the information they want, such as an e-mail address or other user-defined information. Also, users have one password that only the OpenID provider sees. For businesses this could mean fewer attacks on their Web sites because hackers won’t be able to gain any user information. It’s imperative, however, that people trust their OpenID provider because it will store this information.
Aside from requiring a provider, applying OpenID to a Web site requires some basic HTML knowledge. Many of the top providers offer source code that can be dropped into an existing template that will allow anyone to place an OpenID login protocol onto a Web site. How simple is that? The following are some of the more popular guides for getting started:
Of course, any company could also be its own OpenID provider, but that’s going to take a little more knowledge and coding experience. Begin by doing a search for “phpMyID.” This will give you an idea of what you need to do and how to implement the required script. OpenID is also open to developers who wish to expand on the many uses the technology offers.