More SmugMug & OpenID
I hope you’ve heard we now support OpenID. If not, now you have.
A commenter asked politely (after deleting his first rant) why on earth we were being a provider, when being a consumer was more important. I completely disagree, and here’s why:
We should be both. And we will be. But I believe in releasing features quickly and incrementally, so I had to choose one or the other. I chose being a provider. Why?
You can’t sell lightbulbs to those without electricity. You can’t sell gasoline cars to those without access to gas stations. You can’t consume OpenID if there’s no-one who has an OpenID.
Up until AOL’s announcement, LiveJournal/SixApart was the best (and only?) source of OpenIDs on a reasonable scale (100,000+ users), as far as I know. That’s really not very many users. I figured throwing our 100,000+ into the mix would help. I certainly hope it has. AOL, though, threw 63,000,000+ into the mix – so now we’re even closer to a critical mass.
This is a chicken-or-the-egg problem, and I believe you need lots of providers with established user bases to jumpstart it. I’m glad there are tons of brand-new OpenID providers who’ll give you an ID for free – but I believe the real make-or-break metric will be existing services enabling huge chunks of people in one fell swoop.
We just swooped.
On a side note, while I rarely whine about our lack of coverage (generally, I believe the best way to get coverage online is to buckle down and improve your product), I was surprised to see our OpenID news fall on the net in complete silence. More than 30,000 people read my blog on Friday, but not a single blogger or news source I’m aware of picked it up. Digg can announce that they’ll have support “later this year” and get tons of coverage but we enable more than 100,000 people overnight, making us the 3rd largest OpenID provider on the planet, and no-one cares?
We didn’t do this to get coverage, we did it because I’m a geek and I think OpenID rocks. But a little, tiny bit might have been nice. I guess my “improve the product” theory doesn’t work after all. Can someone enlighten me as to what I’m doing wrong?
Oh, and I’m sorry for the whining. I’ll try not to let it happen again.