What was that account ID again?

A lot of people have multiple free accounts from sites like Google and Yahoo. Most people in this situation typically seem to have just a couple, one for their primary login and one for registrations that might generate potential spam. I too have accounts for these purposes.

But that thinking doesn't always work well and is too simplistic as the offerings from the modern Google and Yahoo go far beyond just email. The whole idea of a user ID now is to serve as a passport allowing you to float seamlessly from subproperty-to-subproperty of these mega portals. I was thinking it through and these are just some of the services that I regularly use at these two giants:

GOOGLE: Blogger, Gmail, YouTube, Groups, Pages, Mini/Enterprise, Adwords, Analytics, Webmaster Central; software - Picasa, Urchin, Toolbar

YAHOO: Mail, Flickr, MyYahoo, Delicious, News/Sports, Local, Answers, Launchcast, TV, Pipes, Yahoo SEM, Site Explorer; software - Widgets, Messenger

For the average person, a single ID should get you around most of these properties just fine. But for somebody managing advertising, analytics, site feeds, etc. for multiple sites it can quickly grow unwieldy. I can consolidate management of some services (such as multiple AdWords accounts) under the umbrella of larger Client Manager account. And whenever possible we try to utilize similar functionality for other services such as Google Analytics and Webmaster Central. But in instances where the client wants direct login access to a particular tool we sometimes have to use a separate login for that account in order to keep the data of our other clients confidential.

Then there's the whole divide between professional and personal accounts. I'm currently logged into my personal Google account so I can post this blog entry. But most of the time I'm logged into my primary professional Google account for work purposes. Anytime I wanted to post a blog entry or check my personal email I have to logout of my work Google account and then log back into my personal Google account. I finally just made my work Google account a contributor to this blog so I can post to it without having to change logins. If I used Google Docs and Bookmarks I don't know what I'd do.

THEN there's the issue of multiple people with Google/Yahoo IDs sharing the same computer. I set my wife up with Gmail for her primary personal email and (out of kindness to her) I leave her permanently logged in our main system so she can see when she has new email. I realize I could just use a separate Windows login to run my own profile where my account is also permanently logged-in. But my geeky side is more a control freak so I like for us to both keep our content/programs organized under one interface.

I'm a big fan of both of these sites and will continue to use their offerings. I just hope they can develop a more robust user account management system so their heaviest users (like me) don't have to maintain a laundry list of account IDs and passwords for their day-to-day usage.

2 comments Links to this post

Adam said...

So this is kinda weird. I've never really had any clue as to what it is that you actually do. And to be honest, I still don't. Even after that nice Internet Marketing Monologue.

But that was the first time I have actually heard your "work-speak". Truly, I am impressed. I'm going to go back to playing my guitar now and write some more songs that are pretty much crappy and tasteless.

-the hoplessly creative brother

Jason McCay said...

If you keep up with 37Signals...they just released a new product called HighRise. The product isn't relevant...but I noticed that when you create your account, you can use an OpenID instead of creating a new account.

Granted, this feels very MS Passport-like, but perhaps it will be more successful since it isn't proprietary.

http://www.openid.net

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