Partners Offer Way to Build Web of Reputations

 
 
By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2005-07-28 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Opinity and Identity Commons plan to build links between their respective online reputation and ID management services to enable people to build trusted relationships on the Web.

Two organizations are joining forces to offer a service that enables Internet users to establish identities and reputations, allowing others to decide whether they are the kind of people they want to get to know or do business with. Opinity Inc., a San Jose, Calif. company that started an online personal reputation service, and Identity Commons, a membership organization based in Emeryville, Calif. that allows people to create and maintain trusted online identities, have started working on a combined service offering, Opinity CEO Ted Cho said Thursday. Identity Commons allows people to set up what it calls an i-name, a unique identity that a person can use on e-mail systems or Web sites of all types to transact business or communicate with other people.
Opinity offers a service that allows members to "view, manage and aggregate his or her personal reputation" across the domains of their choosing.
The partnership will allow Opinity users to establish i-names while Identity Commons members will be able to access Opinity reputation services. The two organizations will be ready to release their joint services some time in September, Cho said. A proposed ID theft bill widens encryption rules. Read more here..
The partnership is designed to address the great problem the people have when they do business and meet people on the Web—a lack of trust, said Bill Washburn, Opinitys vice president of business development. People need to establish and protect their reputations and identities in the real world, Washburn said. "It also needs to be done in the virtual world. We are both going to be basically involved in doing the work of reputation development, identity development and management," he said. Click here to read Mary Jo Foleys Microsoft Watch Weblog entry about Microsofts plans for the InfoCard ID management technology in Windows Vista. Each person provides and verifies the information that establishes an individuals reputation, Washburn said. But it also can be verified by fiends, family members or employers of the members choosing, he explained. Opinity believes that as more people use this service a "fabric" of reputation and identity providers will develop who essentially vouch for the online reputations and behavior of those who join, Washburn said. The assumption is that people will behave better if what they do on the Internet can damage their standing with the sites they do business with or the people that interact with them on the Internet, he said. Washburn said the partners believe that as their joint services grow, they will be "contributing quite visibly to adding some civility to the Internet." The partners also intend to be "agnostic" when it comes to working with other providers or identity management or reputation services, he said. For example, Microsoft Corp. is building an ID management technology into its Windows Vista operating system. Opinity and Identity Commons said they want to "at least be able to exchange information" with other such services, if their users want to use this technology. For insights on security coverage around the Web, check out eWEEK.com Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.
 
 
 
 
John Pallatto John Pallatto is eWEEK.com's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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