JanRain Promotes OpenID Adoption Through The Long Tail

JanRain, creator of some of the most popular OpenID software libraries and a forum-like communications tool called Pibb, has released a new SaaS offering for websites that want to become relying parties for OpenID.

We’re told that the service, simply called RPX, makes it possible to start accepting users with OpenID accounts within one day. This is actually the second SaaS solution provided by JanRain, the first being the similarly named OPX, which lets websites do the opposite: provide OpenID accounts to users, who can then sign into any other websites that accept them. JanRain also provides OpenID accounts to users directly through its myOpenID service.

Helping websites become relying partners is more important (at least at this point in the game) than helping them become providing partners. That’s because few popular sites accept OpenID and, consequently, consumers see little reason to set up OpenID accounts for themselves. This is an even bigger problem than the user experience issues that have plagued the movement over the last few years.

RPX is being marketed toward medium sites that want to increase their registration conversation rates, import user information from elsewhere, and build out connections to other social services via oAuth. It’s not meant as much for big internet sites like Blogger, Plaxo and AOL, who have become relying parties using their in-house technical resources.

The question stands as to whether OpenID will gain momentum through the long tail or adoption by a critical mass of the big players. It will probably take a few very popular services, such as MySpace and Facebook (through their respective Data Availability and Connect services), to popularize the protocol. But once they do, services like RPX should help the long tail take advantage of it.

RPX comes in two flavors: “plus” for smaller sites and “pro” for bigger ones. Pricing starts at a flat fee and then increases based on how many people sign into your site using OpenID during the span of one year.