Why Yahoo’s OpenID support isn’t such a good thing
Last week OpenID was forced back into the spotlight with the announcement that Yahoo would be “supporting” the initiative with it’s own login system.
Now on first glance the stats being banded about sound great:
Currently there are roughly 120 million OpenID accounts… on January 30 that number will more than triple to 368 million OpenID users… with Yahoo’s 248 million users worldwide.
This sounds great, but the fine print here is that Yahoo will only be a openID provider, not an openID receiver.
This means you can use your Yahoo login and the me.yahoo.com url to login to sites that accept OpenID, but you can’t use your jon.sykes.name url that you brought to use as your SINGLE openid url to sign into Yahoo sites.
To me this approach stinks of protectionism. It’s an attempt to force users to use their Yahoo login over other options, it also means that yahoo can track what you’re logging into (how often), from where, etc, etc.
They are not the first company to take this approach, AOL has for a year allowed you to use your AIM login as an openID login, but not the reverse.
Yes, this will open up openID to more users, it gives none geek users (who might not own their .name domain) exposure to the system, but I think companies that offer one way use will in the end do more harm than worth. If everyone takes this approach, there is ZERO value in openID as it means even if you have openID provider accounts, you can’t use them anywhere.
Hopefully Yahoo will see the error’s in their ways and will start accepting openID as a login. I know, I for one, would use more Yahoo online applications if I didn’t have to keep remembering my Yahoo login. I know 3 people who were screwed over with the whole Yahoo -> Flickr login fiasco, I can barely remember my new login and password there either.
In you’re not familiar with openID, here is a nice little screen cast introduction to what it can do: