After a decade and more of browsing, shopping and transacting on the Internet, millions of us have assembled a confusing clutter of Web site memberships, user IDs, log-ins and passwords.
A lot of us have a lot of insecure and downright careless ways of maintaining this collection. Some of us may keep this log-in information in a little black book or have it stored in some kind of PC desktop organizer with little or no security. Or, worse, it is recorded in some random text file on your PC available to anyone nosy enough to look for it.
But the sad truth is that our online personas have become so complicated that now we need some kind of Web-based personal organizer to provide a single and hopefully safe place to keep all our log-in data.
And, naturally, a Web venture, Pageonce, has sprung up to provide just such a service. Pageonce is a single site where people can store all their account log-ins for virtually all conceivable Web sites, banks, financial services, social networks, e-mail, utilities, entertainment and e-commerce sites. Pageonce is offering this service free of charge.
Once the log-in data is stored with Pageonce, consumers have password free access to all their Web site accounts. Pageonce founder and CEO Guy Goldstein says all that log-in information is protected with "military-level security" that is certified by TRUSTe, McAfee Hacker Safe and VeriSign.
The site went live on June 3 and is open to anyone who wants to start moving log-in information into a Pageonce personal Internet assistant account. Goldstein said the site has been beta tested by more than 20,000 users, founders, employees, family members and friends of friends, who maintain more than 60,000 Internet accounts on the site.
But the question is whether people will feel comfortable enough with the security of the site to make it worth the time and effort to record much of their log-in information there.
Doug Williams, a Jupiter Research analyst, said he believed the site is offering enough convenience to make it worthwhile for people to store their log-in information.
"By keeping that stuff secure and in one place online it enhances the functionality and efficiency of using the Internet" with all the services, vendors and online stores that people work with, Williams said.
While it does take some effort by the consumer to enter log-in information into Pageonce, "these are Web sites you are visiting on a regular basis and you are going to be plugging that information in at some point in the future any way," he said.
There are a number of sites online, such as Pageflakes, that allow people to consolidate many of the Web sites and services that they regularly visit, Williams said. But none of these sites provide the high level of security that enables instant access to secure financial services and utility sites that Pageonce is offering.
If Pageonce proves successful, let's hope that these services don't proliferate on the Web or somebody will be dreaming up an Internet assistant service to organize our Web assistants.