There’s been some discussion lately about the “competition” between Facebook Connect and OpenID-based third party authentication. From our experience, its in the best interest of most websites to accept multiple third party authentication solutions, since users may prefer to use a wide variety of accounts to facilitate registration and login. Why would you want to tie the success of your website to only one third party identity provider and risk missing some prospective user registrations or not let your users login with their preferred provider?
With JanRain’s RPX solution, you can quickly and easily accept registration and login from all the major third party identity services. Additionally, you can accept all the rich user profile data being provided by OpenID Simple Registration (SREG), Attribute Exchange (AX), and provider specific APIs including MySpaceID and Facebook Connect. Read what John McCrea of Plaxo has to say about RPX.
The following are examples from three different websites that validate this perspective.
UserVoice is the online suggestion box that sorts itself. With customers including Sun, Random House, Nokia, Sony BMG, and MySpace, UserVoice is helping its clients get direct customer input on product priorities and build brand loyalty. As you can see, Google happens to be the preferred identity provider for UserVoice’s customers, but if they chose to only accept Google, they’d be missing 50% of the users who prefer to use another account.
Interscope Geffen A&M; is a major force in global music, developing chart-topping artists across a wide range of musical genres including rock, rap, pop and alternative. Interscope Geffen A&M; Records is a division of Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company. While Facebook is currently the most preferred identity provider, 57% of Interscope’s users prefer to use other identity providers.
Sulit is an online retailer for both buyers and sellers in the Philippines, like eBay. They wanted a quick and easy way to accept third party registration and login on their website. As you can see, Yahoo is the identity provider of choice, yet another 36% preferred using other providers.
AFI Begin Transmission
The Band AFI recently invited its fans to submit auditions via YouTube to perform on the their next album. They needed a quick and easy way to allow all their fans to comment on the submissions and vote for their favorites. As you can see, MySpace was the identity provider of choice, yet another 64% preferred using other providers.
acroBabble is an online collaborative word game that started in the mid 90’s with an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) game run by a bot called “Acrobot.” Since then its had many incarnations and now is run as a dedicated game site. As you can see, AOL, Yahoo, and Google all have over 20% share, but there’s still another 23% from other providers.
So as you can see, if you want to reach the broadest audience and serve your customers according to their preferences, offering a wide range of third party authentication options may be the best way to go.