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January 24, 2006

Online Account Hell

Tags: Web — 10:46 pm Comments (2)

I’ve got a ton of accounts online, it’s a problem (I can say why in a different post), and I don’t think I’m alone. I probably have 50+ online accounts.

  • 4+ email accounts: personal, work, public, and spam plus several test accounts
  • 8+ for banking, investing, credit card, taxes, insurance, bill sites like cell phone, tv
  • 5+ shopping sites, not including all the individual stores I have to register for one off purchases so another 10+
  • 4+ member sites like Airlines, car rental
  • All the photo sites, Flickr, Kodak, Snapfish, Shutterfly (SmugMug maybe?)
  • n+ web sites like Delicious, Classmates, Backpack, etc
  • n+ work sites like bugzilla, intranet, wiki, addons

Single sign on is not a solution. Password manager is moderately helpful. It’s disheartening to know that each one of these auth/registration systems are different and most are likely not secure.

What I’d like to see is to be able to log-in to my web site and everything is keyed off of that authentication. That’s not of course for everybody. The other model to look at is how bill pay companies like CheckFree, have been able to get people to play nicely.

Do we fix this in Firefox 3.0 or is this not a solvable problem (live with password manager) and move on? The bigger problem I have is that I don’t exactly know what bits of information each of these accounts have. It’s not that these 50+ sites have just my log-in information, username, password, email address. It’s that these 50+ sites have contact information, some usage information, some other stored information like photos or financial data, and that’s not good at all. People make it really easy to sign up for accounts, but I know of no site that makes it easy for you to close/delete/purge an account.


  1. Have you seen Nic Wolff’s tool?

    Comment by Gen Kanai — January 25, 2006 @ 2:33 am

  2. I think I ran into this a while back. It’s cool but I think the bigger problem is account management vs password management. For instance, have you ever tried to cancel out of AOL? Has anyone ever tried to delete their Yahoo! account?
    And then the next problem is managing multiple accounts. The password piece is the sucky first hurdle.

    Comment by rebron — January 25, 2006 @ 9:51 am

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