escaping from email? (was: Introducing Zooomr)

Kevin Turner kevin at
Thu Feb 16 18:45:57 UTC 2006

On Sun, 2006-02-12 at 00:29 -0600, Jay Knight wrote:
> One great thing about distributed authentication is that I can identify 
> myself on a site without providing my email address.

This is not necessarily a given.  I mean, yes, it's true that you don't
need an email address to *identify* yourself the way a lot of e-commerce
sites currently do it ("please enter your email address to log in"), but
there are still plenty of reasons why a site might want to require you
to associate your email address with your account, including

* giving you a path to recover your log-in credentials in case you lose
them.  (Your ID server went out of business or you forgot which ID you
used but remember your email.)

* making it more expensive to write spambots.  (A bot that logs in *and*
responds to an e-mail confirmation is more expensive to build and
maintain than a bot that just logs in to a web form.)

* providing functionality that's part of the service, as Zooomr does.

* having a channel through which to notify you about important changes
in terms of service, changes to your account, etc.

* sending you spam or selling your contact information to marketers.

Not all of those are good reasons, but some of them are.  I don't think
we should expect to see services stop using our email addresses anytime

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