Like many net content producers, I find that managing multiple web identities has become a fairly complex and involved activity: different environments and online watering-holes have different criteria and mechanisms for user identification and validation. Worse, there’s usually no way to link these disparate aspects together to present a cohesive view of the individual’s identity on the net. OpenID is a compelling mechanism to enable single-point verification of an individual on a compliant service or site, using a token provided by some service that essentially vouches for the identity of the person, in OpenID format. Thus, OpenID providers/partners (such as Technorati, WordPress.org, and AOL) enable their users to automatically validate against the service provider identity schema, whenever they need to sign-in to n OpenID-compliant site (which now number in the 100’s and growing).

As a decentralized schema, using OpenID on a site means that there is no single point of failure for identity verification, and the decision to make use of the framework for online identity consolidation lies completely with the end-user, which is great for privacy concerns. I’ve enabled OpenID validation on my blog for comment submissions and moderation; this allows people to readily provide feedback on posts, etc., without having to go through the effort of signing up all over again on a new site. I run WordPress on my own site, so I am in the fortunate position of being able to readily update with a WordPress OpenID-compliant package; your own content provider or software may have differing methods to enable OpenID identity management.

Incidentally, as I write this, the latest members of the OpenID fraternity include Yahoo, which now has its OpenID authentication in beta (visit the Yahoo Developer site for more information), and Google, which allows OpenID verification against the Blogger network (see here for more info). Check out their OpenID solutions, and let me know how you use OpenID for your own online identity management!

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