August 8, 2020

Companies Claim to Support OpenID, Only Support Free PR.

Before I started at Identity.net I had only vaguely heard of OpenID and what it was. I knew it was out there, but I also knew it wasn’t very widely used. For most people, that’s still the case. This is also a good place to remind people that the opinions in this blog are mine and mine alone and do not reflect my company in any way.

The main problem with OpenID is that currently not enough places support it. It’s a great idea but it’s just not widespread enough yet.

That’s slowly starting to change, but it’s changing wrongly. At least once a week I come across an article like this one where a company is claiming OpenID support. In this case, it’s MySpace. At first, I thought “yay this is a great step in accomplishing our vision for Identity.net” – but then I read the article.

Myspace, like Google, AOL, Yahoo, Vox, Livejournal, and countless other companies, is only going to be an OpenID provider. You can’t actually log in to MySpace with an OpenID you created elsewhere. And that’s the main problem. (Yes, I know they say they plan on supporing log in, but I plan on being a millionaire too. Actually doing it is something else entirely.)

Right now, almost every company under the sun is bragging about being an OpenID provider while totally shunning the real concept of OpenID. I have about 200 OpenIDs right now from all of these big companies, but I still can’t just use one of them. That’s something we’re aiming to change, but it would be a lot easier if all of the companies claiming to support OpenID actually supported OpenID.

I once had a college professor include “when is XML always the correct choice?” on a test question. The only answer that made sense was “when you need a Buzz Word for your Resume.” That was a few years ago. A better question should be “When should you use OpenID?” A: When you want free PR.

For once, I’d like to see some big companies stop throwing around buzz words and actually do what their press releases claim that they’re doing. OpenID is a great idea, it just needs to be supported. Who’s going to be one of the first major companies to actually do it? (FYI, I know wordpress supports it, but their support is currently very lacking and takes a lot of customization to be able to do anything significant)

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About Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones is an SEO from Detroit. By day he works as a manager of SEO & Analytics at SapientNitro where his team performs SEO for Fortune500 clients. By night he's either playing hockey or attempting to take over the world with his own websites - which he would have already succeeded in doing had it not been for those meddling kids and their dog. The views expressed here have not been paid for and belong only to Ryan, not any of his employers or clients. Follow Ryan on Twitter at: @RyanJones, add him on Google+ or visit his personal website: www.RyanMJones.com