I'm planning to write a series of posts under "Tech Tip". The purpose of these posts are to share ideas/tips around how companies can leverage technology approaches in their solutions to gain competitive advantage. I also intend to provide technology implementation details as applicable.
One of the major goals for a startup is to motivate users to sign up for their service and eventually to sustain the user base. There are a bunch of startups coming up everyday and from an user its quite overwhelming for them to remember credentials for all of them. As Joshua Porter puts it in his Usage Lifecycle, the challenge here is to Sign-up an unaware/interested user. Even early adopters who might be interested in trying your service may not be motivated. But we can solve this problem by leveraging authentication technology possibilities.
It is very likely that your interested user will have one of Hotmail/Yahoo/Facebook/Google/OpenID account.
By providing your users to authenticate using these services will definitely increase the probability of an enthusiastic user to sign up. These services have libraries and documentation in their respective developer web site.
Clickpass is a startup providing single sign-on service that requires no effort from the end-user but provides the convenience for your site to authenticate using Google, Facebook, Hotmail and Yahoo accounts. They provide extensive developer documentation and can be found here. TechCrunch also has coverage about this service. However there are also views like these that you need to be aware of before making your decision.