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Monday, June 6, 2011

One week later - Facebook + Google v. MyData

ICPSR rolled out a new option for logging into our web site on May 18.  Instead of requiring web site visitors to create a MyData account (using an email address) and a password, we deployed a new service whereby web site visitors can use their existing Google ID or Facebook ID to login.  And, if they have already logged into Google (or Facebook), then there is no need to login again to ICPSR.  (This type of feature is often called SSO for Single Sign-On.)

I was curious to see how many people were taking advantage of this new service, and so I pulled a week's worth of information about newly created profiles.  (We always create a profile for a new ICPSR web site user, regardless if s/he uses Facebook, Google, or MyData.)  The specific time period covered was May 19, 2011 through mid-morning May 26, so just a bit over a week.

During that time there were nearly six hundred new profiles created, and a bit over two-thirds took advantage of the new SSO service.  Here are the numbers:

So, 399 new profiles created that used either Google or Facebook to log in to ICPSR's web site, and 171 new profiles where the person created a MyData account.

I wasn't surprised to see the non-MyData profiles to be higher than the MyData profiles, but I was surprised that the difference wasn't even more pronounced.  My guess would have been that most people have either a Facebook or Google ID (or both), and that most people would rather use that ID for logging into a system rather than taking the time to set-up a MyData account, especially since we've seen that most web site visitors don't come back very often (or at all).

Maybe, though, this very transient usage is what leads some people to create the MyData account.  Perhaps they view the account is one which is completely disposable, and they don't care if they don't remember the account or password?  And perhaps they would prefer to keep their reusable identity (from Facebook or Google) separate?

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