OpenID Case Study:

Sulit is an online classifieds and e-commerce website for The Philippines.RJ David is the co-founder and technical lead for the site.

RJ, why did Sulit decide to add OpenID registration and login support?

There are a number of reasons why we decided to use OpenID.One of our main goals is to make our website easier for our visitors to use, and this includes our registration and login processes. We want to get more members using our service, and simplifying the registration and login system is a great way to do that.

Also, our top support ticket issue is from members asking how to retrieve their username and/or password. We believe that OpenID can eliminate the need for remembering multiple usernames and passwords, thus making logging in easier for our members.

Why d
id you choose JanRain’s RPX to implement OpenID?

I had been trying to develop our own implementation of OpenID for quite a while, but I faced some difficulties attempting to support the different implementations of the various identity providers, as well as different versions of the standards. As the technologies in this space continue to expand, I expect more changes in the standards — some providers might follow these changes, while some might maintain old implementation of standards.

Additionally, some popular providers have their own proprietary implementation standards independent of OpenID. RPX provided a single solution that was easy for us to implement while supporting the different standards of the major providers. RPX also allows us to focus on our core business while letting JanRain handle the upgrades to the service when needed.

Here is how great our registration process now appears to visitors:

Did your team know how you would measure success?

Definitely! We can measure success by looking back at the reasons why we wanted to implement OpenID. First, we can measure success by examining how many registrations we have seen since implementing the technology and then comparing that to our figures prior to implementing RPX. Second, we can measure how many support tickets we received asking how to retrieve user login details before and after implementation.

What results you did achieve after deploying RPX?

Before using OpenID, our registration process required a number of steps which included the verification of e-mail addresses, thus forcing potential members to leave the site and check their e-mail. It was also possible for our authentication e-mail to be delivered to a spam folder or deferred by the e-mail service which can often result in failed member registrations. OpenID removed these extra steps, making the entire process simpler. Since implementing RPX in January 2009, we have 64,000 new users and about 10,000 of them registered through RPX.

We have also seen more than a 50% decrease in the amount of support tickets received from users asking about their login details, as they no longer need to remember a separate password for our website when using OpenID.

Any surprises or things you did not expect?

I was personally surprised at how easy it was to implement OpenID using RPX. I actually implemented it in a few hours while waiting for New Year’s Eve, which was surprising given that I had been trying to develop our own OpenID implementation for quite a while last year. The development time really will be cut from days/weeks to only a few hours when using JanRain’s RPX solution. Once we implemented RPX, the ease of adding Facebook, MySpace, and recently Windows Live ID to our solution surprised me. I think it only required 10 minutes of my time to enable each of these providers through RPX.I cannot even call it development time since all I need to do is to follow the steps indicated in the tutorial for RPX and I’m done.

We were also surprised by the feedback we got from our members since adding RPX. A majority of our member base is non-technical and we didn’t expect them to appreciate this feature. They definitely love the idea of not having to remember as many login details as they use and join more websites.

What advice would you give to others thinking about implementing OpenID and RPX?

Most website owners are constantly looking to make things easier for users through the services that a website provides.OpenID is one great way to give easier and pain-free access to the services on our website. And you do not have to spend lots of man-hours to implement an OpenID solution if you lack the resources. Third party solutions like JanRain’s RPX can help you implement OpenID technology fast and allow you to focus your resources more to the core of your business.

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