Congratulations to Peter Nixey and Immad Akhund – two friends and fellow Brits – who’ve just publicly launched their Y-Combinator backed startup ClickPass (TechCrunch coverage here).
Sofia and I have been following their progress for some month, including sneak peeks and early uses of the product. And I have to say it really brings the benefits of OpenID to the mainstream – opening up all sorts of new possibilities.
Click pass is essentially made up of two constituent parts.
Firstly, the company offers a simple-yet-slick design patten for the federated authentication of the user. What I like about the design is that not only do ClickPass help their users login to a given site with OpenID, but they have also baked in simple support for a number of other popular OpenID providers too – such as AOL, WordPress and LiveJournal (where it all began).
Rather than having to remember their full OpenID URL at either ClickPass or any of these other providers, the user simply has to enter their username and the ClickPass login widget automatically constructs the correct login url and sends the user on their way to authenticate at their chosen provider’s authentication home page.
As a proponent of OpenID I really want to give props to Peter and Immad for taking the opportunity to make it easy for everyone regardless of whether they use ClickPass to authenticate or not.
The second aspect of the service is a dashboard style interface that reflects the various sites the user holds an OpenID relationship with. This creates an ideal home page opportunity as it’s so easy to dive straight into the sites you use.
There’s also a great monetization opportunity of using the interface to take advertising on this page to the next level. Rather than simply promoting the front page of their site, with the permission of the user an advertiser could create an account for their site upon the initial click through from the advert – using the OpenID credentials already authenticated on ClickPass.
This allows the site to immediately offer full utility to the user rather than having to encourage them to ‘cross the chasm’ and create an account (having already had to encourage them just to click on the advert).
I may be a little biased, as Peter and Immad are friends, but I really do think this is the best implementation of OpenID out there right now for ‘regular users’. I do think they need to bake in more anti-phishing mechanisms – such as displaying photos, key phrases or some other ‘secret’ upon authentication. But these are easily done and I’m sure this is something they are both looking at.
Well done boys, good work!
Ben, thank you for the great review. It’s been really useful for us running things past you over these past few months and we’ve been blown away by the reception we’ve had.
As you said, we’re working on a lot of the anti-phishing elements and will be rolling them out over the coming weeks. We’re also going to be rolling out much stronger methods of authentication so watch this space.
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