Identity Workshop Informational Morning – Success!

So we have a great time at the workshop yesterday. Eugene gave a great over view of “the problem” and why pinging a third party identity broker/provider would be a good evolution.
Johannes gave a great overview of the space URL based identifiers (YADIS – currently looking for a new name), WS* (Microsoft) and Liberty Alliance.
Dave presented about OpenID,
John presented about SXIP 2.0,
Drummond on XRI and
Eugene again about Yoke – the I-broker for the masses.

Mary Hodder shared here use of identity for her video community.
Tom from Opinity shared how they are using identity for their reputation network.
Marc Canter shared his use of identity (specifically SXIP) in GoingOn across networks and communities.
Chirs Allen shared some use cases for networks where he needs identity.
I closed out by talking about the new identity commons ‘clear focus.

the developers who attended expressed their interest in being there and we broke for lunch.

All had a good time and much networking happened.

User-Centric collection of atributes and reputation

We had a great lunch with Mary yesterday where we discussed this article and her comments about reputation portability. Ironically enough Mary’s comments excerpted and therefore were not complete. She articulated more deeply in our discussion how the the meaning of an eBay reputation has meaning within that community. When you extract it out of that community and look at it as someone who is not a member do the numbers have ‘meaning’ in the same way they do for those in the community.

Comment from Ivan the below article…

A small company called Opinity is trying to address this issue by aggregating many different sources of reputation data (ie. eBay rating, credit rating, etc.) to enable sites to interact w/individuals to get the reputation item they need for that trusted interaction to take place

This guy gets it! They are actually not just aggregating ‘reputation data’ and ratings but also membership in various website communities (you can say you have xhandle over on site Y when you are making comments on bulletin board Z but how do you prove it? Opintiy gives you tools to do this.

If identity is what others say about you (Dick has defined it this way in his identity 2.0 talk). If you are a member of an organization and they assert that about you. (how else do you show someone the membership cards in your wallet online?) Opinity gives people tools to support you authenticating your memberships in various organizations.

He continues

…I’m afraid that they may have a “chicken and the egg” problem in getting people using the service in order to get sites to support it and w/no sites supporting it users will be hard to come by.


This is where his understanding break down. Opinity is offering its services to communities/websites to use.

Opinity is much the same, although they offer partners the opportunity to tap into the data. These centralized data plays have no chance on today’s internet. Why even bother.

Here’s what we need – a referee and a scorekeeper. Open (I didn’t say free, mind you) APIs in and out, not just links to feedback scores. Figure out the rules (keep it flexible) and let other applications feed the database. Somebody please build this. Or eBay, open up your Feedback API.

I’m not alone in pleading for this. See what Rob Hof and others have to say as well.

Opinions on Opinity.

There has been a lot of opinions about opinity in the blogosphere in the last week.

From Mashable:


Quoting Bill Washburn @ Opinity –
The way we think about it at Opinity, individuals would also be completely welcome to put together multiple reputation profiles of themselves for different contexts, say one for ecommerce, one for professional purposes, one for political or dating or community forum purposes. An eBay rating could be shown in a profile or not as any particular person might deem wise for their purposes. The most important thing is that elements of a reputation profile can be made portable, aggregated, authenticated, and thereby be more useful and worthy of some degree of trust (depending on how broad, deep, and verified the profile is) everywhere on the ‘net.  

That’s more like it! I reckon these guys could be on to something big, if only they can figure out how to make plenty of dough from all this – their idea sounds exactly the same as mine, but the problem I’ve had up to this point is justifying it from a business perspective. You can’t really charge users, so you’d have to charge site owners/developers for any applications that hooked into the system. So maybe you have a new auction site and you don’t want to build a whole new reputation system, along with the high switching costs for your users – pay us and we’ll do the hard work for you.

Despite what P-Air says, there’s really no chicken and egg problem if you aggregate and categorize existing feedback systems (you won’t start off with a zero score if you can import your current eBay score from the start). But here’s the question: how could someone make this work – and would it even be worth the effort?

Identity Access Management:

What is a product like this going to buy me as a citizen of web? I can see their idea of a central repository of user reputation (something similar to Credit Reporting company). But all the big sites have their own repository and why would they want to share that. So, their basic approach would be to get the smaller websites to get to use this service. Now that is a big issue because why would most of these websites want to purchase a service they do not need. As soon as the customer pays via credit card, these people do not care about the reputation of the customer. So unless this system can help them

Lets take the model from customer point of view. Most people would like to get tangible benifits out of this before they would be ready to aggregate their identity information in one place. This could be in form of discount in online stores. In addition to that the reputation needs to be integrated with a identity engine that can build a central repository of their profile (which will include their blogs, comments on other websites for products, etc) across the web which can then be converted into his reputation (because without the “identity” you will not know who are the people talking about since there could be really large number of “John Doe” out there).

May be I am thinking too far into the future. At the moment, it could be more like something that gamers and others involved in online activities (like chat ) would use to aggregate and share their information out of box.

Micro-content Musings

I had a look at the Opinity service. This service allows a user to create a reputation. This seems basically to mean that a user can create reviews for people. Interesting, I would like to see a more distributed MicroContent solution for this.

A more interesting feature to me is the certification of identities. A user can submit identities (username+password) at the service. And Opinity will try to login. If it succeeds it has certified that identity. Something similar can be done with email addresses. In this way u user can prove that his various identities on various services belong to the same service.

I see such a certification service as a part of a personal profile.

Business week’s Rob Hof wrote about Mary’s assertions about the ‘unportability of reputations’. We are having lunch next week to talk about it :)

Opinity is having a market conversation

I just redid my blog side bar and added a link to Opinity. I have been networking on their behalf for several months now. I am happy to share that they have also been engaging in market conversation. With the Online Traders Web Alliance about how their service – to aggregate reputation across services can be of benefit to them. They learned a lot and are incorporating the feedback they received.



Thursady, July 28th doors at 6, program at 7
CIIS, Namaste Hall,3rd Floor
1453 Mission St. San Francisco (2 blocks from Civic Center BART)

With my emerging persona as Identity Woman curated this line up that provides a great opportunity to learn more about some of the latest tools for next generation digital identity.

Light Weight Identity – LID
Johannes Ernst NetMesh Inc. .
Light-Weight Identity(tm)– LID(tm)– a new and very simple digital identity protocol that puts users in control of their own digital identities, without reliance on a centralized party and without approval from an “identity provider”.

Brad Fitzpatrick Six Apart, Ltd.
OpenID, a decentralized identity system, but one that’s actually decentralized and doesn’t entirely crumble if one company turns evil or goes out of business. An OpenID identity is just a URL.

Sun Single Sign On
Pat Patterson Sun Microsystems
Sun is announcing the intention to open source web single sign-on. This project, called Open Web Single Sign-On, or OpenSSO, gives developers access to the source code to these basic identity services allows them to focus on innovations that solve more urgent problems, such as securely connecting partner networks, ensuring user privacy, and proving compliance.

Opinity, Inc
Ted Cho
Opinity provides open reputation for end users. It is a young start up offering free online reputation management related services so that individuals can authenticate, aggregate, and mobilize their website (eBay, Amazon, etc.) reputations. Opinity also offers reputation management tools so that individuals can monitor, build, and work to enhance their own reputation going forward. Individuals can also review other individuals at the Opinity website.
Planetwork has been hosting monthly networking forums in the Bay Area for the last 3 years. We are a unique network sitting at the nexus of technology use for social and environmental good. To support the monthly forums we invite voluntary donations (in a basket on the food table).

If you would like to join our mailing list to get more information about upcoming events please go to this page and get a planetwork i-name and then set your mail preferences.

Catalyst Round UP

First of all thanks to Cordance, Opinity and ooTao who supported me in representing them and the whole ecology of folks around Identity Commons. It was a great week with lots of fruitful networking.

Jamie you are the calmest conference organizer I have ever met. Your staff was together and very helpful. Thanks!
Here are the roundup highlights:
Identity Management Market Trends – guitar introduction by Mike Neuenschwander.

Every move of your mouse you make
You’ll get a browser cookie for pete’s sake
Every username you fake, every federated claim you stake
They’ll be watching you

Every night and day
Every online game you play
Everything you say in IM, e-mail, VoIp or some other way
They’ll be watching you

Jamie Lewis kicked of the final afternoon with a keynote on user-centric Identity summed up by Dave Kearns with these talking points

*Heady mix of optimists, pessimists, idealists, cynics
*Agendas, governments, commercial interests could subvert the process
*Indicators of the constant tensions virtualization, digital ID create
*The tug of war will continue, and we all have a stake in the outcome
*Demonstrates the relativistic nature of identity, need for

Bob Blakley talked about his Axiom’s of Identity – they were quite though provoking and a great addition to the Identity Gang/Workshop conversation.

Dick gave a new and improved lessig style presentation on Identity 2.0 / User Centric Identity.

These two both belong to the “mac” community and gave their presentation on them. I got a lot of comments about my decorated Mac. It is nothing compared to Mary’s though.

Identity Workshop on stage. It was great to get a name and face for more of the Identity folks this included Stefan Brands of ID Corner and Scott Blackmer. Who I know was there but didn’t meet was David Kerns.
Strangest Job title: Ryan from Sxip – Sales Engineer (huh?)

Best Hospitality Suite themes matching the company:

  • Elementalwith their Ice Carved Bar and Earth and Fire graphics on the wall.
  • BridgeStream does role based enterprise Identity Management. So they had had Impro Theater (IT) Shakespeare provided by Theater Sports LA (Michelle, Brianand Floyd) where they each played improvised “roles.” They were kind enough to do an improvised sonnet about Identity Woman (I was really sad I didn’t have a tape recorder :() They also handed out world beach balls for the ‘globe theater.’

Talked to Scott Mace a bit on the first hospitality suite evening about podcasting. It is something Identity Woman might start doing.

Phil Windley, Doc Searls and myself worked out more details regarding the Independent Identity Workshop we are pulling together for the fall.

The Spiritual element of what identity is – the unnameable quality was honored with two different Lau Tzu quotes.

Sailing San Diego Bay with Mary Rundle was the closing highlight.

Thanks to all for a great conference! I am looking forward to coming back next year.

Spam vs. Ritual Gift Exchange?

So one of the things the folks building the i-name services will be building in with global launch is reputation services provided by Opinity ( for messaging (e-mail, IM, phone calls etc.). The goal is to build in feedback to prevent bad behavior.

One of the instigators of the Berkeley Breakfast Cabal Ben Gross is publishing a paper on E-mail as Ritual Gift Exchange. It seems that there is an interesting use case to consider around reputation and messaging. There is a difference between forwarding a quirky e-mail or amusing link to friends and network colleagues.

Forwarding a quirky email or an amusing link or video attachment to colleagues may seem innocent enough, but it is the modern equivalent of ritual gift exchange and carries with it similar social implications, say US researchers.

Email forwarding is a familiar part of modern email communications, and has spawned many an internet phenomenon, the Star Wars kid, the Numa Numa dance, and Oolong the rabbitto name just a few.

Benjamin Gross at the University of Illinois, US, and colleagues studied email forwarding behaviour by conducting informal interviews among email users. He says forwarding emails plays a vital role in constructing and maintaining modern social ties, despite the phenomenon receiving scant attention from social scientists.

Update on Ben. he has re-branded his messaging work as identity management and is having success interviewing with ‘big’ internet companies for a job.