OpenID concern #2: switching providers

One thing that concerns many people about OpenID is what happens if their provider goes out of business or if they want to switch to another provider for some other reason.

At Vidoop, we believe that users deserve to always be in control of their online identity, even if it means that they’d like to switch away. We’ll let them keep their URL and change to another provider.

We recently shipped a feature that allows a user to go to the Account/Advanced tab on our site and delegate their OpenID URL to the OpenID provider of their choice. For example, right now, if you type in to one of your favorite OpenID relying party’s web site, you’ll see that you’re redirected to


All OpenID users should expect their OpenID providers to do the same. Please ask them to do so–even if you’re happy with them now. What if they go out of business, or if you decide that you like another provider better?


  1. Posted January 31, 2008 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    So how does an OpenID provider who has gone out of bussiness delegate anything? The conversation appears to be:

    [Relying Party]-request->[Provider]-delegate->[Better Provider]

    Wouldn’t subtracting the orriginal provider break this?

    I’m not saying the ability to delegate your OID to another provider isn’t a desirable feature. I’m just not sure how it would assist with the ‘out of business’ senario.

  2. Posted January 31, 2008 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Yeah–I don’t know what I was thinking on the first part of the last sentence. If your primary OP goes out of business, then you are, in fact, left stranded. You can certainly pick your top layer OP from the point of view of “least likely to close up shop” and choose your downstream OP more from “favorite feature set”, and as long as you guessed right, you’ve got something like the best of both worlds.

    Even if you take away that part of my argument, though, for most users, this is the closest they’ll get to having a persistent URL to use for delegation. (I.e. my grandma will never have a vanity domain.)

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