But what are they good for?

Drummond Reed offers some practical answers to dizzy who asked some reasonable questions about i-names. I'd like to add a couple small points. First, I'd like to stress that I agree with dizzy that i-names need services to become useful. Besides the three that Drummond mentioned, we have plans - limited only by our resources - for many more, including:

  • event registration, currently in beta that includes social networking capabilities
  • membership management for organizations, made easier when the member maintains e.g. their contact information
  • disposable email addresses that protect privacy and offer a spam-free email address for the user
  • reputation-based and/or community-driven vetting of i-names to set access permissions, etc.
  • permission based matching services (useful for everything from dating to traditional marketing)
  • inter-social networking — networks without lock-in
  • persistent avatars for on-line gaming
  • and more...

The second point I'd like to make is that the global namespace is only the first one being built, primarily because it's a simple and straightforward mechanism to bootstrap i-names into general use. But i-names are not centralized by nature, a key requirement towards supporting a world of ends. Other global roots as well as an unlimited number of distributed community roots can and will exist, some perhaps initially with mapping relays between the namespaces, much as the initial relay machines helped connect the arpanet, bitnet, usenet and others into what we now know as the internet. And along these lines, though dizzy got a free global i-name for attending Digital ID World, IMO the majority of i-names will be free which coincides with our (2idi's) open source business model with no governance required, though I believe that a membership-based federation of communities ala that proposed by Identity Commons is a good middle ground. =Fen.Labalme