More Thoughts on SixApart’s TypeKey

[Update: The start of a comprehensive FAQ on TypeKey is now available.]

There’s been a bit of a backlash among some folks about SixApart‘s announcement of TypeKey, an authentication service intended to address the problem of weblog comment spam.

While I know nothing more about TypeKey beyond what’s been provided so far on their web site, it strikes me that this early reaction is overblown. There’s a clear need for a solution to the problem — real pain is involved. I cheer the SixApart team for putting forward an approach — for actually doing something about it.

While a more weblog-specific approach is probably what SixApart is doing with TypeKey, what would be most interesting to me would be to learn that TypeKey is actually going to build upon the work done over the last couple of years on federated authentication by the Liberty Alliance.

Let’s not forget that Liberty began primarily as a reaction to that last great centralized authentication service announced on the web, Microsoft’s Passport (currently called .NET Passport). Microsoft targeted commercial web site owners as their targets for monetizing Passport and got almost no adoption (eBay allows its use). Passport could be quickly morphed into a service for dealing with weblog comment spam — but probably won’t be. Instead, Passport appears to be dying on the vine in Redmond. Passport appears to have been forgotten as a possible element in Microsoft’s overall anti-spam initiatives.